Construction of a land-based aquaculture farm to produce methane-reducing supplements for cattle from native New Zealand seaweed will start later this year at Ocean Beach near Bluff in Southland.
In what CH4 Aotearoa said is a world first, the company is to construct an ecopark to farm and cultivate a NZ-native seaweed, Asparagopsis armarta, for its animal supplements.
The ecopark will use technology developed at CH4 Global’s research and development facility based at NIWA’s Northern Aquaculture Park, where the process was initially validated on a pilot-scale tank farm, followed by commercial production since July.
In a statement, the CH4 Aotearoa said its facility will be built in two phases with phase one being commissioned by the end of this year and reaching full production by the middle of 2023.
In phase two the facility will be expanded to a full ecopark of 500 bioreactors with the capacity to supply supplements for up to 15,000 cattle.
Most production will be exported to Australia for use in the large feedlot cattle market.
The Asparagopsis-based livestock supplement has been shown to reduce methane produced by cows by up to 90%.
The statement said CH4 Aotearoa is partnering with globally recognised aquaculture science organisations and leading mussel aquaculturists to develop the systems and technology needed to commercially farm the native seaweed at scale.
Key to that is access to the seaweed in NZ’s nutrient-rich coastal waters and on land-based aquaculture parks.
CH4 Aotearoa GM Nigel Little said the plant will be a key milestone towards full commercialisation with multiple ecoparks planned for the next five years to produce supplements for up to 1 million cattle.