Global Investors Boost NZ Red Seaweed Farming Venture
Auckland, NZ (September 1, 2020) –Aquaculture startup CH4 Global has closed on seed funding of US$3 million (NZ$4.45 million) and will scale up its New Zealand operations with commercial marine and tank-based seaweed cultivation pilots based at Rakiura/Stewart Island. These pilots will serve as the platform to deliver an end to end production module in late 2021.
CH4 Global is currently operating a sustainable wild harvest programme at Rakiura of a specific species of red seaweed – Asparagopsis armata – to use as a livestock supplement solution to reduce ruminant methane emissions by up to 90 percent. The harvesting programme will provide the seed stock for the scale-up as well as finished product for dairy and sheep trials.
“Our focus is on urgently impacting climate change within the next decade, so this investment means NZ farmers, and farmers in the US and Australia, could be the first in the world to make a meaningful impact on emissions in this way,” comments Dr Steve Meller, President, CEO and Co-Founder of CH4 Global.
“We are well down the road in integrating the pillars of our strategy,” added Dr. Meller. “We have processes and partners that we are aligning to optimize the way we cultivate, process, and distribute Asparagopsis in our key markets. We are acquiring and partnering for aqua space for commercial scale aquaculture in Australia and New Zealand, and we are formalizing customer relationships to get to market quickly. Agility and speed are core to our strategy of urgency, as we know time is running out.”
The issue CH4 Global is addressing is massive: There are 1.5 billion cows in the world. Each year over the next two decades, the greenhouse gas (GHG) output for those 1.5 billion cows is greater than the GHG output from China, the largest GHG emitter by country in the world.
Dr Meller says the new seed funding comes from a select group of prominent family offices and private investors from around the world and also includes non-dilutive capital from leading government innovation groups, including the New Zealand Provincial Growth Fund, South Australian Research and Development Institute, the Australian Fisheries Research Development Corporation, and the South Australian Landing Pad.
CH4 Global was founded 18 months ago by an international team of senior scientists, proven technology entrepreneurs, and business executives from Australia, New Zealand, and the US. They are actively working to leverage the ground-breaking research findings of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Meat and Livestock Australia, and James Cook University that has led to the global recognition of Asparagopsis seaweed’s impact on methane reduction and has now spawned a completely new industry that CH4 Global and others are building.
“The sad, undeniable truth is we are rapidly running out of time to delay an impending climate crisis,” said Dr. Steve Meller. “Asparagopsis armata is a New Zealand and Australian native, naturally abundant seaweed that can immediately impact climate change. This cold-water seaweed is perfectly suited to the New Zealand and Australian climate for sustainable, long-term, environmentally friendly cultivation. And CH4 Global is well positioned to make it available globally now, not 10 years from now.”