Feeding food: Our investment in Multus Media
Today, Multus Media announced their £1.5M Seed Round, in which we invested. Multus are a brilliant team of scientist-entrepreneurs, from Imperial College, using cutting edge computational biology to make and optimise the growth media needed for the production of cultivated meat. We couldn't be more excited to welcome Cai and the team to the Zero Carbon Capital family.
We need to talk about cow burps 🐮
Livestock-based meat production generates 5Gt CO2e emissions today, primarily from animal methane emissions (particularly cow burps and manure), land use, and the emissions associated with growing animal feed. Despite some trends toward lower meat consumption in some developed countries, the forecast for meat consumption through to 2050 continues to rise, reflecting wealth and population increases in developing nations. Without significant intervention the emissions associate with meat consumption in 2050 will be a significant part of our remaining net-zero challenge.
Cultivated meat offers a low-carbon alternative to current livestock-based meats. We currently emit 100kg CO2e in the production of each kg of beef protein. In the EU, improved farming techniques have lowered this number to 15kg CO2e. A recent LTA study suggested a range of emissions from 2.5kg to 14kg CO2e per kg of cultured meat protein. That's a huge reduction in emissions, and we believe cultured meat could actually go below the bottom end of this range based on future innovations.
Of course, we can also do our part as consumers by switching from beef and lamb to chicken or pork, which have much lower emissions intensities and generally just eating less meat. We also need innovations, such as selective breeding for lower emissions and improved feedstocks, that reduce the emissions associated with the livestock that we do keep in the long-run.
An amazing stat we found in our research on this work is that approx 1/4 of all crop emissions are associated with animal feed. This highlights the importance of feeding food. This is just as important in cultivated meat. As you grow cells that will later become the meat on our plates you need to feed them growth media which both supports their energy needs and helps direct the cells to grow as you want them to. Today, much cultivated meat experimentation is fed using Foetal Bovine Serum, which is costly and requires (an ultimately self-defeating) supply of fresh livestock. Current analyses of cultured meat production peg the growth media as a large proportion of both cost and emissions. The race is on to build the best, cheapest and most sustainable growth media. Multus are at the forefront of that race.
We're all looking forward to our first Multus Media fed burger! Welcome Multus!