The Swedish startup is developing a supplement derived from the red algae, Asparagopsis, to reduce methane emissions in cattle. The seaweed is grown in the company’s pilot, land-based system in the coastal city of Lysekil, Sweden. The seaweed is harvested from tanks, freeze-dried, and milled into a fine powder that constitutes the final product, branded as Volta Seafeed.
In February this year, we reported on how a pilot Volta ran on a commercial farm in Sweden indicated that the feed supplement reduced over 80% of methane (CH4) emissions from beef cows.
Following on from that, this summer saw a methane-reduced beef launched in 20 Coop stores in Sweden in a collaboration between Volta Greentech, the supermarket chain, Coop, the Swedish food company, Protos, and the farm, Ejmunds gård, on Gotland. The cows’ feed was enriched with Volta’s algae supplement, added as only 0.6% of the daily feed ration.
The developer said the results showed that methane emissions during the feeding period were reduced by around 80–90%, with the data validated by independent research institute, RISE.
To accelerate the work of the startup, Axel Johnson’s investment arm Novax, Konsumentföreningen Stockholm, and the Swedish food company Protos have recently joined forces and invested a total of €2m (US$2.08m) in Volta Greentech.
“Our solution for reducing methane emissions from cows is well recognized for its potential to have a rapid, measurable, and positive impact. Doing this on a large scale and fast enough to have a positive effect on the climate is challenging. But it is important that it gets done, and we are happy about the support we have got from the Swedish food industry,” said Fredrik Åkerman, CEO of Volta Greentech.
The firm is running further trials to validate its technology. But the CEO said he was unable to disclose anything more on those studies, in terms of the location or the trial design, at this juncture.
The startup is looking now to enlarge the manufacturing footprint for its supplement, with it looking to build its first large-scale algae factory.
Construction of that facility is planned to get underway in 2024. "We are currently in the site selection process," said Åkerman
Volta was founded in 2019 and has raised over €5m to date from investors. It is already backed by prominent entrepreneurs such as Claes Dinkelspiel and Peter Carlsson and has also received financial support from the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Vinnova, and Almi Väst.