Methane emissions from the farming sector are often described as being a key issue in regards to curbing climate change.
And for a country like Denmark, which has ambitious climate targets but also relies heavily on agriculture, any solutions could prove invaluable. The Danes aren’t just waiting around for something to pop up.
In collaboration with dairy giants Arla, Danish researchers have developed a substance (referred to as ‘X’) that can effectively stop methane emissions from cows – a potentially massive result in the battle against climate change.
“In a lab at the University of Copenhagen, we have managed to document that when this substance is added to feed, there is simply no, as in zero, methane emissions,” Mette Olafsen Nielsen, a professor at Aarhus University, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“At Aarhus University we are now continuing our studies on live cows.”
Could happen quickly
Australian researchers have already discovered that it is possible to reduce methane emissions from cows by 92-97 percent by adding a special substance to their feed. However, the substance is virtually unusable because it’s not something that is wanted in the food chain.
But the Danish substance has already been approved by EU’s food safety authority, EFSA, and can be added to the vitamin and mineral mixtures that go into cow feed.
Nielsen initially expects that a product, which reduces methane emissions in cows by about a third, will hit the market in 2020 or 2021. Arla, which has 1.5 million dairy cows, is thrilled.
“It sounds very interesting. Research has already brought us far and I have waited for another breakthrough. The new results could be a huge step towards reaching targets in our climate plan,” Jan Toft Nørgaard, the chair of the board at Arla, told Jyllands-Posten.