Seaweed Reducing Bovine Methane
Alexia Akbay has been selected as part of UNICEF Innovation30: Young Innovators Shaping the Future.
Countries of Solution Deployment: Global, USA
Innovation Accelerator: Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Solve, United States
Alexia Akbay, 28, is the leader of Symbrosia, a youth-led team behind the innovative solution SeaGraze leveraging seaweed to drastically reduce livestock methane emissions.
SeaGraze is made from the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis and is good for cows, farmers, and the planet alike. Alexia calls it “the new hero of livestock feed.” Her breakthrough research has shown that adding just a sprinkle of this seaweed to livestock feed reduces livestock methane emissions by 80 per cent.
During the enteric fermentation part of the cow’s digestive process, SeaGraze inhibits methane formation without impacting the overall digestion, which helps the cow gain weight and produce milk. In a typical fermentation process, hydrogen gas and CO2 combine within the stomach to produce CH4 (methane) released whenever the cow burps. However, with SeaGraze, the hydrogen gas is blocked from carbon dioxide, reducing methanogens naturally through digestion. Methane is a gas that produces a strong greenhouse effect in our atmosphere. It's estimated to contribute about 25 per cent to warming temperatures from climate change.
Locally and sustainably grown in Hawaii, the red seaweed has the potential to conserve the equivalent of 4-6 acres of forest per cow. SeaGraze offers the most effective enteric methane solution available today, and it is USDA Organic Certified with a demonstrated proven need and market in multiple regions.
With a background in green chemistry and a childhood spent among entrepreneurs, Alexia’s passion lies in climate innovation management. “The future of sustainable feed for millions of farmers and billions of farm animals is our red seaweed,” she says.