Scientific innovation cuts methane emissions
Methane is a greenhouse gas with 30 times the potential of CO2 to heat the atmosphere. When digesting their feed, ruminants - in particular dairy cows and beef cattle - burp up and release considerable volumes of methane as a by-product into the atmosphere. In this way they contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and thus to global warming. This is where DSM comes in.
The solution to an important problem
Seen globally, we are well on our way to missing the climate objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to less than 1.5° C. To prevent the expected dramatic consequences of imminent climate change at least in part, scientific innovation is essential. As the world's population is also continuing to grow, agricultural production systems and ruminant livestock play a key role in society - both in securing the supply of healthy food and in the war against climate change.
According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), around 1.5 million cattle, of which around 534,000 dairy cows, were registered in Switzerland in 2018. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation there are some 1.5 billion cattle worldwide, of which 250 million are dairy cows.
When ruminating, a cow “burps up” the equivalent of 3 tonnes of CO2 in the form of methane per year. Innovative measures to reduce these methane emissions offer a great potential for improving the global climate situation, as methane has a strong effect on global warming. Turning the immediate focus to this problem has a rapid and measurable effect and makes a significant contribution to the achievement of national climate objectives in many regions - including here in Switzerland.
Savings potential: 1 tonne of CO2 equivalents per cow
The methane produced by a cow can be cut substantially by the development and innovative use of special feed additives. DSM’s research department in Switzerland has developed such an additive, which reduces the methane production of ruminants by 30%. After comprehensive and worldwide tests, DSM is now steering this product through the official admission process, and it is expected to come on the market under the name Bovaer® by the end of 2020. Bovaer® saves 1 tonne of CO2 equivalents per cow every year, and feeding Bovaer® to three cows will cut the equivalent CO2emissions of a family car.
Innovation with global relevance
With clarity of vision, DSM identified and addressed an issue of global social relevance at an early stage. As such, a project of basic research could successfully evolve into a commercial product over a period of ten years. The entire value chain was involved in this process. DSM is committed to the development of innovative and sustainable products for the field of Brighter Living Solutions– and Bovaer® is such a product.
We have a responsibility towards future generations and recognise the important contribution which agricultural production systems can make in the war against climate change. As the problem has to be faced now, the application of innovations in the field of nutrition systems can help to reduce the production of methane effectively and in a targeted manner.
DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living.™
Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity.