Saturday, September 19, 2009

Food additive for cows reduces methane emissions

This article is one of a series featuring finalists from World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

World Challenge ’09 finalist - Mootral
Mootral came about as a result of a research collaboration with Aberystwyth University, led by Professor Jamie Newbold, looking at the effect of different plant extracts for reducing methane emissions in ruminants in an artificial rumen model. Neem Biotech's garlic extract was the most effective out of over 2000 plant extracts tested in vitro, reducing methane by 94 per cent. A further trial fed to sheep showed a 15 per cent reduction in methane. A business model has been developed under the brand name Mootral and aims to enable carbon emitters such as airlines to buy into the scheme by offsetting their emissions via carbon credits. Sufficient revenue would be generated to enable the feed additive to be offered free of charge to distributors and farmers who in turn would receive payments from the scheme from surplus revenue.

How does the project benefit the community and environment?
Mootral aims to make ruminant livestock production more energy efficient by reducing the amount of wasted energy in the form of methane into the atmosphere. This benefits the environment by reducing GHG emissions, a major contributor to climate change, being up to 72 times more potent than CO2. It is estimated that on average 20 per cent of global warming is caused by ruminant livestock emissions and a reduction of 15-25 per cent with optimum dose rates, would offer a significant reduction in global warming.

What would the project do if it won World Challenge?
Neem Biotech Ltd gained considerable success by coming second in the FT Climate Challenge Competition 2009 and aims to build on that achievement. The firm hopes to gather further efficacy data on its additive, looking at dose rates, timing of doses, longevity and the most efficient methods of delivery to the animal. Its goal is to generate this data for global registrations, starting with EU registration.

World Challenge '09 - who will get your vote?
It's up to the public to decide who wins this year's World Challenge competition. Online voting opens on 28 September and runs to 13 November. BBC World News is broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the 12 World Challenge 09 finalists throughout October and November.

Find out more
World Challenge website and online voting:

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