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What is Rock Powder?

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The Power of Rock Powder: A sustainable solution for soil health and climate action

“InPlanet is taking something that might seem dead, a piece of rock, and turning it into something that creates life, which is soil, powerful nutritious fertilized soil.”

Niklas Kluger, InPlanet COO

InPlanet is transforming the landscape of agricultural lands in Brazil and removing tons of carbon from the atmosphere. We are doing so while making use of something unexpected, rock powder that would be otherwise treated as residues from the mining industry.

But what exactly is rock powder, where does it come from, and how does it contribute to a greener planet? Let’s dive in and explore the power of rocks to fight climate change and restore the health of soils.

Rocks are rich in minerals that are essential for a process known as Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW). Enhanced Rock Weathering involves the reaction of minerals in rocks with carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere, and it has been a natural way to remove carbon for thousands of years. Essentially, it is how nature has been keeping the air clean and naturally fertilizing the soil; we are enhancing this natural process to make it a lot faster and remove carbon at the pace needed to fight climate change.

Photo of mine operations taken from a distance

How do we obtain this rock powder? The process begins at environmentally responsible quarries, where rock powder is a by-product of larger operations. When sourcing larger rocks, small pieces are inevitably broken down and are typically considered residue. However, InPlanet is giving these leftover rock fragments a noble purpose.

InPlanet partners with local quarries to grind these small rock pieces into an extremely fine powder, almost as fine as powdered sugar. This grinding process is crucial because finer rock powder reacts more rapidly with CO₂, enhancing its effectiveness in carbon sequestration. 

Importantly, no additional processing or treatment is required beyond grinding. Rock powder is naturally rich in all the minerals necessary for Carbon Removal, as well as for plant nutrition, making it ready for application once it has been ground.

“InPlanet implemented a comprehensive and thorough process for selecting suppliers of rock powder. In addition to the national laws and regulations governing its production and commercialization, we also established internal guidelines that delve into technical quality criteria to ensure that the rock powder we apply is optimal for Carbon Removal.”

Geologist Jeandro Vitorio, InPlanet’s MRV Rocks and Minerals.

Before application, rock powder is analyzed to certify its composition and purity. This step ensures that the rock powder meets standards and regulations, guaranteeing its high efficiency for absorbing carbon and safety for soils, plants, and the environment. Once certified, the rock powder is distributed to agricultural farms, where it becomes a powerful tool for regenerating soil health and combating climate change.

On top of absorbing carbon through the process of Enhanced Rock Weathering, incorporating rock powder into agricultural practices is beneficial in several ways. Firstly, it improves soil health by replenishing essential minerals and enhancing soil structure. This, in turn, boosts agricultural productivity, increasing plant yield and resilience to environmental issues such as drought and erosion. 

“With all the benefits for the soil backed by decades of science and the major environmental benefit of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it’s fair to say that rock powder is the most sustainable alternative to the majority of chemical fertilizers available on the market today.”

Geologist Jeandro Vitorio, InPlanet’s MRV Rocks and Minerals.

In essence, rock powder represents a sustainable solution with multiple benefits for the environment and agriculture. By harnessing its power, we can create a more resilient and sustainable future for generations to come.