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Mobilizing Bright Science for Project “Clean Cow”

More sustainable farming through lower emissions

As the world population continues to grow, so does the demand for food including beef and dairy. Unfortunately, the cows we raise for this present a problem – they produce a significant amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes climate change. A single dairy cow generates about 3 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) every year in the form of enteric methane.
Infographic: Methane Reduction Project

Reducing cow emissions to reduce global warming

Cows have complex stomachs that host billions of microorganisms. These help break down food. The problem is that some of these microorganisms also make methane, which is then emitted by the cow. Incredibly, this process is responsible for 4% of all total global greenhouse gas emissions* - making it a major contributor to climate change. Tackling the issue of climate change is a priority at DSM. Project Clean Cow is one way we’re helping.

Putting our competences to work

Intense collaboration among scientists and experts in nutritionbiologychemistry, engineering and analytics across the globe has made Project Clean Cow a reality.

Chemcial Sciences expertise

Together they took a fresh look at the potential of existing compounds. When this didn’t deliver a solution, they made a major decision: to embark on an ambitious quest for a completely new compound. The first step was using computer simulation to explore compounds that could work.

From computer to test tube to global game changer

Once some potential compounds had been identified, our full network of competencies came into play. It was time to take the scope of research from computer simulations to the physical realm. Our biochemists and microbiologists screened the most promising compounds. We shared the final compound with external and independent partners, including noteworthy animal science academics in Europe, Oceania and North America. They tested our solution in the most demanding environment of all - the cow’s stomach. It passed with flying colors.

More eco-friendly cows and happier farmers

But what about safety? DSM toxicologists and analytical chemists and external research institutes are conducting extensive testing to ensure our new ingredient is safe. Trials of the new ingredient demonstrate a 30%-plus reduction in methane emissions without any adverse effects on animal welfare, feed consumption or performance.

More eco-friendly cows and happier farmers

Our formulations and applications teams have turned the new compound into an ingredient that’s easily added to the cow’s regular daily diet and now DSM process development experts are planning commercial production.

For the rapidly growing segment of environmentally-aware consumers the appeal is clear: decreased environmental footprint for the beef and dairy sector.

*according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

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