One Answer to Cutting Potent Cow Emissions Is Awaiting EU Nod

One of the most promising solutions for cleaning up cow burps, a major contributor to global emissions, could be ready for sale in Europe within two years.

Dutch nutrition company Royal DSM NV has developed a feed additive that curbs methane produced by cattle, and expects to obtain approval from European Union authorities by the end of next year, paving the way for sales to start in 2022. The supplement, known as Bovaer and part of the company’s “Project Clean Cow,” has been shown to cut methane emissions by about 30%.

Meat and dairy producers are under pressure to go greener as raising animals accounts for about 15% of global emissions, with methane about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Researchers and companies are exploring a range of solutions, including breeding ‘climate-smart’ cattle and masks for cows. Still, there’s a long wait due to testing and obtaining regulatory approval.

“While the regulatory process is a bit long, what we’ve seen is that the background is getting more supportive for something like Bovaer,” Geraldine Matchett, DSM’s co-chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Europe is starting to really think about how to include the agricultural space” in goals to cut emissions targets, she said.

One Answer to Cutting Potent Cow Emissions Is Awaiting EU Nod

DSM’s Bovaer supplement doesn’t affect a cow’s diet and has undergone 42 trials on more than 10,000 animals, receiving 35 peer reviews, Matchett said. The World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank, last year singled out Bovaer as one of the 10 breakthrough technologies that can help feed the world without destroying it.

Heerlen, Netherlands-based DSM previously expected sales in Europe to start as early this year. It’s also trying to get approval in New Zealand and the U.S., though the wait will take longer. The product has attracted “a lot of interest” from dairy companies, Matchett said.

“There is still an increasing demand for animal based protein,” she said. “What we’re looking at is how do you make these proteins less environmentally damaging while providing nutritional benefits to people.”

More from DSM:

  • It’s developing a new canola protein for meat and dairy alternatives, which should go on sale in 2022.
  • The company has seen increased demand for dietary supplements and from companies seeking to add micronutrients to their products.
  • There’s “renewed interest and acknowledgment that nutrition plays a critical role in maintaining a basic healthy population that can also reduce the cost of health care,” Matchett said. “There is a lot more dialog going on than there was a couple of years ago.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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