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SBIR Phase II:Optimizing production and final product stability of Asparagopsis taxiformis as a novel feed material for livestock methane reduction

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2309372
Agency Tracking Number: 2309372
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 23-516
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-10-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-09-30
Small Business Information
73-4357 Lulana St
United States
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Alexia Akbay
 (808) 865-1328
Business Contact
 Alexia Akbay
Phone: (808) 865-1328
Research Institution

The broader impact of this Small Business Research (SBIR) Phase II project is to reduce methane production in the ruminant livestock industry via the commercial production of Asparagopsis taxiformis for inclusion in cattle feed. There are currently 1.5 billion head of cattle on earth, which contribute significantly to greenhouse emissions via methane release during growth. It has been demonstrated that the inclusion of A. taxiformis in cattle feed can drive down methane emissions by more than 80%. However, production capabilities of A. taxiformis lag behind the market need. A conservative estimate for biomass production necessary to mitigate methane emissions of 1.5 billion cattle is 264 metric tons of fresh algae biomass daily. The goal of this project is to optimize outdoor cultivation practices is necessary to meet this production goal. Additionally, pelletization of the final product will broaden implementation capacity of this novel livestock feed additive from small farmers to industrial feedlots, further increasing the impact of the product by incorporating this novel feed into standard ranching practices. _x000D_
This project pursues development of novel cultivation procedures of A. taxiformis in scaled production operations. Currently, production approaches focus on low-light, energy intensive, and difficult to scale indoor cultivation. This project focuses on producing biomass in automated outdoor cultivation systems, thus overcoming limitations of scaling and associated energy costs of indoor cultivation. The development of alternative outdoor cultivation systems specific to the species’ needs will improve yield in production to meet industry needs. Additionally, the industry standard of milling final feed products results in a lower mass:volume ratio for shipment, driving shipping costs up. Milled material is problematic for product viability due to moisture absorption from increased surface area:air ratio. By working with a local feed mill where the algae are produced, the approach outlined in this project can realize economic gains by a local entity, reducing the costs of shipping dramatically._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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