Climate tech startup Silicate is set to undertake the first-ever enhanced weathering trial in the United States.
The trial will involve applying 500 metric tons of milled returned concrete to 50 hectares of farmland in Buckingham, Illinois.
The enhanced weathering technology aims to remove CO2 permanently from the atmosphere and lock it in the world’s soil.
Silicate’s enhanced weathering technology is a proposed carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategy that involves accelerating natural carbon sequestration in soils via the amendment of silicate rocks to agricultural soils.
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The company plans to use wollastonite, a fast-weathering mineral, to lead to rapid pedogenic carbonate formation in soils. This process can help to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions and reduce the impact of climate change.
Maurice Bryson, CEO of Silicate, stated that the trial is a significant step in the company’s efforts to combat climate change.
The news has been met with excitement as the enhanced weathering technology has the potential to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change.
Image credit: Silicate
Understanding Enhanced Weathering
Enhanced weathering is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere through the dissolution of silicate minerals on the land surface.
This process involves the application of minerals such as crushed basalt to soil, which reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to form bicarbonate ions.
The bicarbonate ions are then carried by rainwater into the oceans, where they form stable minerals that remain in the ocean floor for millions of years.
The enhanced weathering process is a natural process that has been occurring for millions of years. However, it is possible to increase the rate of this process by adding minerals to the soil.
This process is known as enhanced rock weathering (ERW). ERW has the potential to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it an important tool in the fight against climate change.
ERW has been shown to be effective in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Studies have shown that the process can remove up to 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. This makes it one of the most effective carbon removal methods available.
The process of enhanced weathering is not limited to just one type of mineral. Any mineral that reacts with carbon dioxide can be used in the process.
However, some minerals are more effective than others. Basalt is one of the most effective minerals for enhanced weathering, as it contains a high percentage of calcium, magnesium, and iron, all of which are important for the process.
In conclusion, enhanced weathering is an exciting new technology that has the potential to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By using minerals such as basalt to enhance the natural weathering process, we can help to combat climate change and create a more sustainable future for our planet.
The Trial’s Scope and Scale
Silicate, a climate tech startup, is set to undertake the first-ever enhanced weathering trial in the United States. The trial’s scope and scale are impressive; the company aims to apply 500 metric tons of milled returned concrete to 50 hectares of farmland in Buckingham, Illinois.
This project has the potential to remove as much as 100 tons of carbon, making it a significant step towards carbon removal and climate action.
The trial will involve the application of milled returned concrete, which is a by-product of the construction industry.
The concrete will be spread on fields of corn, and the weathering process will begin. The carbon dioxide in the air will react with the minerals in the concrete, and over time, the carbon will be sequestered in the soil. The process mimics the natural weathering of rocks, but it is accelerated with the use of milled concrete.
The scale of the trial is significant, with 50 hectares of farmland being used for the project. This is equivalent to around 70 football fields. The trial will provide valuable insights into the potential of enhanced weathering as a method of carbon removal. If successful, it could be scaled up to a much larger level, providing a significant contribution to climate change mitigation efforts.
The trial’s location in Illinois was chosen due to the state’s significant agricultural industry, which is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By applying enhanced weathering techniques to farmland, Silicate aims to provide a sustainable solution to climate change while also supporting the agricultural industry.
Overall, the trial’s scope and scale are impressive, and the potential benefits of carbon removal and climate action are exciting. The use of milled returned concrete provides a sustainable solution to carbon sequestration, and the trial has the potential to be scaled up to make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation efforts.
Potential Impact on Climate Change
The potential impact of Silicate’s enhanced weathering trial on climate change is exciting. Enhanced weathering is a negative emission technology that involves the spread of crushed silicate minerals and rocks on land and water.
When applied to agricultural soils, the resulting increase in soil pH and release of nutrients may co-benefit plant productivity. Silicate minerals and rocks differ in their enhanced weathering potential, i.e., their potential for both carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and release of nutrients.
The trial will involve applying 500 metric tons of milled returned concrete to 50 hectares of farmland in Buckingham, Illinois. According to company estimates, this project has the potential to remove as much as 100 tons of carbon.
The carbon removal potential of enhanced weathering is significant, and if scaled up, it could play a crucial role in mitigating the climate crisis.
Enhanced silicate rock weathering (ERW), deployable with croplands, has potential use for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) removal (CDR), which is now necessary to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.
The prioritization of sites with high weathering potential in the first couple of decades could lead to substantial carbon drawdown potential from enhanced rock weathering in the long run.
In conclusion, Silicate’s enhanced weathering trial has the potential to make a significant impact on the fight against climate change.
If successful, it could pave the way for further research and development of negative emission technologies that could help us reach our carbon removal goals.
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