£100m methane-reducing additive factory set for North Ayrshire

A new plant is to be developed in North Ayrshire that will facilitate the large-scale production of a methane-reducing feed additive for cattle.

£100m methane-reducing additive factory set for North Ayrshire

Purpose-led science-based company DSM unveiled at COP26 yesterday that it will build the new facility, with Scottish Enterprise support, at its existing site in Dalry.

The £100 million is expected to create 100-150 construction jobs during the two-year construction period.

Reducing methane emissions is seen as crucial to reach the Paris Agreement target of a maximum 1.5 degree warming, especially since methane’s warming effect is shorter-lived and much more potent than carbon dioxide. Experts at COP26 have emphasised the great impact additional focus on methane emission reduction can have, which was also expressed in the recently announced global pledge aiming at reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Amongst other things, methane is emitted from cows – over 50% of emissions from milk production comes in the form of enteric methane emission. Royal DSM’s Bovaer is a feed additive for cows which consistently reduces enteric methane emission by approximately 30% for ruminants. The endeavour to develop Bovaer encompassed over ten years, 45 on-farm trials in 13 countries across four continents, and more than 48 peer-reviewed studies published in independent scientific journals.

Early September 2021 DSM received full regulatory approvals in Brazil and Chile for its feed additive. DSM has available initial commercial product volumes for near term market development. To prepare for further scale-up in the next years, engineering for a new large plant in Dalry has started, which is targeted to be started up in the course of 2025. DSM’s Dalry manufacturing site has been in operation for over 60 years and produces high quality micro-nutrients. The site is the only Western producer of vitamin C.

Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze, co-CEOs of DSM, said: ”First of all we are pleased with the Scottish government’s support of the buildup of our production capacity of Bovaer, particularly within the context of COP26, where the importance of fast climate action through reduction of methane emissions is emphasized again. We are looking forward to offering a scientifically proven effective solution to the challenge of methane emissions by farming. As food systems and climate crisis are intrinsically linked, addressing the challenge of sustainable animal farming for a healthy planet is pivotal.” 

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “Methane reducing feed additives are a crucial part of the solutions that the agriculture sector needs to deploy towards achieving climate ambitions. This multi-million-pound investment will make Scotland the home of this innovative product and highlights that Scotland is leading the way in delivering a net zero future.” 

Scottish Enterprise’s managing director, Linda Hanna added: “Royal DSM’s Project Bovaer has the potential to be a gamechanger for the world’s net zero ambitions and I am delighted that Scotland was chosen as the ideal location for this project. Alongside our partners, Scottish Enterprise worked closely with Royal DSM to build a strong relationship and provide support to help them choose Dalry as the target site for this global manufacturing opportunity.

“As we support sustainable economic recovery, this investment by Royal DSM provides a real boost for Scotland’s economy. It also very much underlines the message we are sharing with the world: that Scotland is open for business.”

Welcoming the announcement, North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “We are absolutely delighted that DSM has chosen its site in North Ayrshire, as the global manufacturing centre for the production of an innovative new feed additive which will cut methane emissions from cattle.

“It is incredible to think that its base in Dalry, located just 20 miles from the COP26 venue, will be playing its part in addressing climate change across the world.

“This £100m plus investment will bring a hugely important and positive impact to the economy of North Ayrshire, with the welcome news that DSM’s current workforce of more than 300 employees is expected to increase by 10 per cent and a further 100-150 construction jobs will be created during the two-year construction period.”

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