A Seattle-based company has won $1.5 million to test a product to reduce methane emissions by curbing cow burps. Lumen Bioscience (Lumen) is the inaugural recipient of the Wilkes Center Climate Prize from the University of Utah, awarded to the boldest and most inspiring ideas to tackle the impacts of climate change. Lumen beat 77 international teams with its proposal to reduce methane emissions from dairy and beef cattle using a patented mixture of enzymes that can be added to their food.
“Lumen Bioscience has an audacious, creative goal to reduce methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change,” said William Anderegg, director of the Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy. “It’s perfect for the Wilkes Climate Prize. We want to supercharge a credible, ambitious idea that may be too risky for traditional funding sources. They’ve patented the technology and shown it works in the lab. Now, we want them to scale it up.”
Lumen has bio-engineered a process using spirulina, a photosynthetic microbe rich in protein and vitamins, to kill the methane-producing methanogens in cows’ stomachs rapidly. Now, with the help of the Wilkes Center Climate Prize, it can test its methane-busting innovation in the field.