- The infrastructure to produce and source rock powder is in most cases already set up. Quarries currently producing sands, gravel stones and construction materials can provide the base material for remineralization. In addition various residues from other mining activities were identified as suitable for remineralization and carbon removal, posing an especially cheap source of rock powder.
- Using rock powder for the remineralization of soils has a wide range of co-benefits in addition to removing carbon from the air. Of special interest are here the more efficient use of fertilizers and the long term provisioning of crucial nutrients for plant growth, in restorative as well as conventional agriculture. In the long run this will also allow for the reduction of chemical fertilizers.
- Remineralization through rock powder has been studied for many years but has gotten out of focus through conventional chemical fertilization. For example, the German researcher Julius Hensel proposed fertilization with rock powder already in the 1850s. The interest in the topic is facing a revival in science, but practical applications on a big scale are in need of development.
Map showing the potential for silica rock application throughout Brazilian territory.
After the conference we had the honor to talk to Professor Antonio Azevedo from the São Paulo School of Agriculture, ESALQUE, one of the key figures in research regarding the use of rock powder as well as João Ieda, researcher and geologist of the “Grupo Pesquisa Mineralogia do Solo” (GPEMSO). During the interview we discussed our three key learnings and the necessary mechanisms which must be developed to make the use of rock powder mainstream. We were especially happy when he offered us to be an adviser for our work. Together with him we will be putting the application of rock powder on a solid scientific base.
To deep dive we recommend reading this article from Yale on the potential of rock powder in agriculture as well as this paper, describing the relevance and economics of rock weathering for carbon sequestration on a global scale.
If you want to learn more about enhanced weathering and the application of rock powder to remove carbon and restore soils and landscapes, get in touch.