Frequently Asked Questions

Methane & the Environment

Rapidly reducing methane emissions is regarded as the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C within reach.1 That’s because methane is a potent greenhouse gas and air pollutant,2 with a much stronger global warming effect than carbon dioxide.3 Current methane levels are the highest they’ve been in over 800,000 years,4 and livestock farming is driving 32% of all human-caused methane emissions.

As the demand for beef and dairy continues to increase,5 finding more solutions to reduce the industry’s emissions is essential to limit global warming,6 mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure the health and well-being of millions.

1 Global Methane Pledge
2 Climate & Clean Air Coalition
3 European Commission
4 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
5 Our World in Data- Global Meat Consumption
6 PNAS- Methane Mitigation Strategies

Contrary to common belief, over 95% of the methane expelled by cows comes out through their mouth and nostrils, not their farts!1

1 Journal of Dairy Science 

Although carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, when it comes to global warming, methane is significantly more potent. Over a 20-year period, methane traps 84 times more heat than carbon dioxide, whilst over a 100-year period, it captures 28 times more.1 The reason for this difference is that methane is a relatively short-lived gas. After about a decade, it breaks down naturally into carbon dioxide and water, and carbon dioxide has a much smaller impact on global warming because it absorbs less heat, even though it remains in the atmosphere for much longer.

This also means that even if we reduced carbon dioxide emissions today, we would not see the effect on the climate until later in the century. Whereas if we reduced methane emissions today, we would see a positive effect much more quickly. That’s why experts agree that rapidly reducing methane emissions is regarded as the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C within reach.2

European Commission
2 Global Methane Pledge

This is a valid question and one that is often debated. Reducing meat and dairy consumption and decreasing the number of cows in the world could help mitigate livestock methane emissions. However, there are currently 1.3 billion people who rely on the agricultural industry for their livelihoods and their food and nutrition security.1  Meat and dairy products are an important source of essential micronutrients, including iron, calcium, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12,2 and they are deeply ingrained in cultures and lifestyles around the world.3 

Livestock systems can also play an important role in improving biodiversity and the soil’s ability to sequester carbon.4 That’s why ZELP is committed to finding ways to make the industry more sustainable – so that it can continue to meet the needs of present and future generations, whilst promoting human and environmental health, animal welfare, and social and economic equity.

1 The World Bank- Moving Toward Sustainability
2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
3 NCBI- Foods for Plant-Based Diets
4 Frontiers- Managing Grazing

The Technology

Yes. ZELP is committed to rigorously testing its technology to ensure it effectively reduces methane emissions, whilst having no negative impact on animal health, welfare and production. A recent cattle behaviour study, conducted by the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, showed the technology has no adverse effects on movement, rumination patterns, rest and activity periods.1

1 Cow behavioural study conducted by Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute

Animal welfare is a key priority for our team. The device has been tested in cattle behavioural trials and no adverse effects on movement, rumination patterns, rest and activity periods have been seen.

Additionally, by tracking important activity data, such as movement, feeding and rumination, the device will be able to detect potential welfare issues and send an alert to the farmer, allowing rapid intervention before any condition worsens.

1 Cow behavioural study conducted by Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute

We’re committed to creating durable and easy-to-maintain technology. Our devices undergo a rigorous testing process to ensure they can withstand the demands of the agricultural industry. Once in use, our team of technicians will provide ongoing support to farmers to ensure the technology continues to improve sustainability practices and animal welfare without adding unnecessary maintenance burdens.

The majority of the components used in each device are recyclable. At the end of its lifespan, ZELP will collect the device from the user and refurbish it to extend its usability. If a component cannot be refurbished, specific processes are in place to ensure that the material can be recycled appropriately.

No. The device will have no effect on the taste or quality of beef and dairy products. You can enjoy the same products, with much lower impact on global warming and the environment.

We applaud all efforts to reduce methane emissions from livestock that simultaneously ensure animal welfare. 

Feed solutions typically work in one of three ways: a) by reducing the amount of substrates for the rumen microbes to work on; b) by eliminating the microorganisms that produce methane, or blocking the process of methane production in the rumen of the animal; or c) by re-directing the hydrogen that would be used to produce methane to another process. All of these mechanisms occur in the rumen of the animal, whereas ZELP’s device works outside the animal, by neutralising the methane exhaled. As such, it can be used to provide additional and complementary methane mitigation in cases where feed solutions are being used. 

The ZELP device can also be used in all livestock systems, whereas feed solutions can currently only be used in systems where cows are fed regularly. This means that feed solutions cannot be used to tackle the methane emissions that come from cows living on pasture, which is where 95% of the world’s 1.45 billion cows live for some or all of their lives.1

There are also additional concerns when it comes to feeding red seaweed to cows. Firstly, it is not yet clear how we would grow enough seaweed to feed the world’s cattle. It would be impossible to harvest enough wild seaweed without depleting the oceans and causing an ecological problem. This means it would need to be cultivated in aquaculture operations and transported around the world. Secondly, there are concerns that the animals’  gut microbes would adapt and adjust, bringing their methane emissions right back to their original levels over time.2  Additionally, Bromoform, the compound present in seaweed that reduces methane production, is potentially carcinogenic to animals and humans, and also known to negatively affect the ozone layer.3

1 Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM) v3 Dashboard
2 Science Daily- Supplementing Cattle Feed with Seaweed
3 Report on Challenges and Opportunities of Seaweed for Methane Mitigation

Reducing Your Emissions

Our team is working hard to ensure this technology is available as soon as possible. To receive updates and be notified of its release, please subscribe to our newsletter via our website, or contact us directly

We are committed to ensuring that the device is accessible to all farmers and are currently evaluating pricing options. More details will be available ahead of the commercial launch of the device.

Yes. The device will capture and neutralise methane emissions and therefore can be used to generate carbon credits. More details will be available ahead of the commercial launch of the device.