Bill Gates-backed Australian start-up Rumin8 reduced gas in cows by feeding them red seaweed.

Stop the Gas

Billionaire Bill Gates has announced an investment in starup Rumin8, who is developing a seaweed-based feed to reduce the methane emissions cows produce through their burps and, to a lesser extent, farts.

Some experts claim that 1.4 billion cows on the planet would increase gassy emissions and that livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), which was set up by the Microsoft co-founder in 2015, led a US$12 million funding round into Rumin8, which produces dietary supplements that reduce the emissions from livestock.

“Our laboratory results continue to yield excellent results, our animal trials are reflecting the laboratory results, and the financial modeling we are undertaking is indicating we will be able to supply our products at a commercial price,” Rumin8 co-founder and chief executive David Messina said.

Bill Gates is Interested In Cows

The start-up is developing a lab-grown feed additive that should make cows create less gas, thereby lowering methane emissions. The company’s trials have demonstrated 85 percent methane gas reduction, which is equivalent to two tonnes of carbon emissions removed from the air, per cow, per year.

Global climate powerhouse Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) – led by Gates has invested $17.2M (Rp27 billion) in a Phase Two funding round.

Rumin8 is the first Australian company in which BEV has invested.

In the press release, the company said the amount will be spent on commercial trials in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the United States, along with product brand and pilot manufacturing plant development.

Bill Gates has supported businesses developing a variety of climate change mitigation strategies, including advanced carbon capture systems, and next-generation nuclear reactors, before backing the Aussie startup.

Seaweed Isn’t The Best Option

The meat industry has been experimenting with edible red algae that prevent greenhouse gas from bubbling up in cow’s bellies. One study found that adding seaweed to cows’ food could cut their methane emissions by 98%.

Just one problem: The amount of seaweed needed to do this could negatively affect aquatic life.

Rumin8 claims to have made synthetic seaweed, replicating the effects of seaweed without taking a toll on the ocean. The company offers a water-soluble option for cows, mineral supplement powders, and oil-based liquids for other animals.

“When the world realizes that we might be producing ozone-depleting chemicals to solve methane, well, I don’t know if anyone is going be happy about that,” Richard Eckard, professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Melbourne told Bloomberg News. “A lot of this should still be in the research phase and not in the commercialization phase.”

Gates and investors disagree and plan to move forward with the seaweed food for cows.

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, and Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma are also backers of the Breakthrough fund.

Further Reading:

Bill Gates Gets Cozy with South Korea’s President

Bill Gates: Eat My ‘Lab’ Meat

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4 thoughts on “Bill Gates Targets Cow Burps”
  1. These guys should be eating this stuff instead of feeding to the cows! For being rich men they have really thought with their other ends as their heads are full of poop. Bill Gates should retire and leave the rest of the world alone.

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