Tasmanian seaweed producer Sea Forest says a federal grant of $3.8 million will be used to expand the commercial production of methane-reducing red seaweed, Asparagopsis.
Sea Forest CEO, Sam Elsom said the government recognises the growing popularity of its unique seaweed supplement. The new funding adds to the $1.67 million it received from the federal government over the last 12 months, including $675,000 from the Commercialisation Fund through the Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre in October, as part of its $3.25 million expansion program.
In April 2021, the company raised $34 million with Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and PGA Investments.
Methane produces 14 per cent of global emissions, making it the world’s second largest greenhouse gas producer after CO2 while producing 34 times more heat.
CSIRO laboratory trials have shown that the red seaweed has the potential to reduce emissions by over 80 per cent.
Sea Forest has also commissioned research teams at the University of Tasmania and James Cook University to research into optimal Asapragopsis cultivation methods.
The company is involved in several trials using its SeaFeed products with a range of beef, diary and wool companies in Australia and New Zealand, including Fonterra, Australian Agricultural Company and Stockyard.
The latest grant was part of the federal government’s Regional Decentralisation Agenda – Securing Raw Materials Program, which was designed to support businesses expand into regional areas to research and develop innovative and locally sourced raw materials.
With Sea Forest recently acquiring a former abalone farm in Swansea, Tasmania, the grant will go towards scaling its commercial production.
The 30-hectare site has 660 land-based ponds and will supplement the company’s existing marine farming, harvesting, and processing operations at its 1800-hectare marine farm at Triabunna, north of Hobart.
Expanding production will enable Sea Forest to supplement over 400,000 cattle annually from the two sites, eliminating more than one million tonnes of CO2 emissions from livestock per year.
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