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CH4 Aotearoa is about to start construction of its first ecopark to cultivate a New Zealand-native seaweed, asparagopsis armarta, for its methane reduction animal supplements.

The ecopark, a full scale land based aquaculture farm, is a world first for the New Zealand company, enabling large scale commercial production.

The ecopark uses technology developed at CH4 Global’s R&D facility based at NIWA’s Northern Aquaculture Park. It has been validated on a pilot-scale tank farm at the NIWA site that commenced commercial production in July this year The land-based facility will be built at Ocean Beach near Bluff, which is on track to become New Zealand’s largest Aquaculture Park.

The CH4 Aotearoa 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 up to 15,000 head of cattle.

CH4 Aotearoa has contracted Fresh By Design to design and construct the pilot facility at Ocean Beach. Fresh By Design is a leading recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) provider across Australia and New Zealand and has a strong background in land based tank facilities including seaweed systems. Fresh By Design have finalized the detailed design and will start construction work onsite at the start of October.

In June 2022, CH4 Global announced the first commercial sales of its asparagopsis-based livestock supplement which drastically reduces methane produced by cows by up to 90 percent. The new Ocean Beach ecopark will guarantee controlled, consistent asparagopsis production at scale as CH4 Global expands commercial supply to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Most of the seaweed will be exported to Australia for use within the large feedlot cattle market. At any one time, there are more than 1.5 million cattle being finished on Australian feedlots.

“This is a key milestone in our path to full commercialisation,” says CH4 Aotearoa GM Nigel Little. “This ecopark is proof of our ability to scale our technology on a sound commercial basis – both for us and for the farmers that use our product. It will be the first of many ecoparks planned over the next five years as we scale up to be able to support a million cattle.”

Ocean Beach Managing Director Blair Wolfgram says he is very excited about the partnership with the CH4 Global team that has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of challenging years. “The technology CH4 have developed to grow this exceptional seaweed at scale is very impressive. Globally, Steve Meller; and Nigel Little, domestically here in Aotearoa, have built an incredibly talented team with a true international outlook for this worldwide issue. “CH4 have a strong alignment with Ocean Beach’s aspiration to be an Aquaculture Centre of Excellence and will be a significant contributor with our other partners to growing the aquaculture industry in Murihiku/Southland,” Wolfgram says.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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