Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and billionaire, believes that finding a solution to stop cows from burping is a valuable idea, according to Bloomberg.
He has invested in an Australian startup that is working on reducing methane emissions from cows by researching food supplements for livestock.
According to a press release, Bill Gates’ company, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), in collaboration with Harvest Road Group, has successfully raised $12 million in funding for Rumin8 – a climate technology firm that focuses on researching and developing solutions to reduce emissions from livestock.
Their latest project aims to identify and utilize “anti-methanogenic properties” that can be produced efficiently and at a low cost to eventually be fed to livestock.
The dietary supplement is created through the synthetic replication of an active ingredient found in red seaweed known as bromoform. This ingredient effectively blocks the formation of methane.
Scientists have recently discovered that feeding cows seaweed and algae can reduce their production of methane emissions by as much as 82%.
Although cows produce methane as a result of the bacteria in their digestive systems, it is an essential component of breaking down the grass they consume.
It’s important to note that the long-term effects of supplementing their diet with seaweed, which is not found in their natural environment, are currently unknown.
Biogenic methane, produced by natural processes on Earth, is a crucial component of the planet’s carbon cycle.
Cattle, for example, produce methane as part of their digestive process, breaking down grass and other forage into methane that is then released into the atmosphere.
Over time, this methane is broken down into water and carbon dioxide, which are then recycled to grow more plant life.
Interfering with this process by feeding cows synthetic supplements to reduce their methane production can have negative impacts on the Earth’s overall carbon cycle and environment.