Olivine helps in agriculture. Adding it to arable land improves the soil structure and the water management. It corrects the acidity and provides more magnesium nutrients. And of course it also permanently binds CO2. In combination with biochar, another fertility improver and CO2-binder, it is very promising in theory. Practical trials are needed to prove this.
Pyrolysis of wood-waste and similar organic material produces bio-fuel and Biochar. This special charcoal remains intact in the ground for a long time. This results in good cultivation conditions and a slowing-down of the carbon cycle. Added olivine should immediately bind the liberated CO2. Forever. The applications are virtually unlim- ited. From grain and rice cultivation to grasslands.
Olivine reacts with water. Seawater is slightly more effective than freshwater. The construction of a simple test installation has been sug- gested. That could be possible in cooperation with the Port Authority of Rotterdam. It requires a long concrete trough with olivine sand. Perpendicular to the coast. By regular monitoring of the incoming and outgoing seawater, the reaction can be studied. More bicarbonate means more CO2 capture.
During weathering silica is also released, an ideal growth nutrient for silica algae. These fast growing single cell organisms contain a lot of fatty acids. They are therefore a potential raw material for biodiesel. If trials are successful, this could provide a far more sustainable source than land-grown maize, oil palm or soya. The second phase of the project therefore includes an artificial lagoon with an olivine beach to study the algae growth. The Ecological Institute NIOO-KNAW and the algae experts from the Wageningen University will soon start an initial study.
Olivine has a geological sister: serpentine. Hot solutions have changed the olivine into a type of magnesium clay. When baked, this material reacts quickly with water and CO2. Great ! But that doesn’t help us, because the baking of serpentine results in extra CO2. With an unwanted fire it is different. The use of serpentine in forest and steppe fires has potential. The first small scale trials have been successful.
When fighting wild fires it is important to reduce the temperature rapidly. Spraying the fire with a serpentine & water mixture seems a good method for all types of wild fires. Baking the clay requires a lot of heat. It creates an impermeable crust which prevents flammable gases escaping. Since the baked clay subsequently binds CO2 it is even more effective. The CO2 produced by the fire is compensated for straight away. The yearly outbreaks of wild fires in Southern Europe, Australia and North & South America make the study of this technique particularly worthwhile.
Olivine helps to eliminate illness. Offices and schools are increasingly striken with sick-building syndrome. In heavily populated buildings the CO2 level increases during the day. From 400 ppm to 1500 ppm. Resulting in drowsiness, loss of concentration and lower productivity. Opening doors and windows is not always possible or leads to unacceptable energy loss. A special filter technique can provide relief.
The concept is clear: all the air inside passes through a water filter containing finely ground olivine. Possibly connected to the existing air circulation system. Via small holes at the bottom of the filter, the air bubbles upwards. The intense contact with olivine binds the CO2 for good. Pollen and allergen particles are also filtered out. Good for pa- tients with asthma or hay-fever. The filter liquid can be discharged to a nearby lake or waterway. The additional magnesium and silica help the growth of reeds, bamboo and rushes.