Applied research proposal: Reducing emissions in rice fields by olivine


  • Name: Reducing emissions in rice fields by olivine.
  • Status: Proposed for testing bij the international Rice Research Institute (IRRI)in collaboration with the University of Cantho in Vietnam.


  1. An appropriate measurement method to measure the rate of CO2 sequestration and reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions by olivine in rice fields has been developed and selected on the basis of which a certification process for Clean Development Method (CDM) can be started.
  2. The rate of sequestration of CO2 in rice field by using olivine rock has been established for different cropping conditions and olivine application rates.
  3. The different agronomic effects of applying olivine at different rates are known.
  4. Knowledge about the CO2 sequestration capacity of olivine is spread amongst students, policy makers, fertilizer and mining industries and farmers.
  • Results:
  1. Different measurement methods to measure CO2 sequestration by olivine have been designed, tested and evaluated for different rice field conditions. The peer-reviewed report of this evaluation will form the basis for the start of the CDM certification process of the method of olivine spreading as a tool for mitigating climate change;
  2. Field and pot experiments have been designed, implemented and evaluated so as to measure the weathering rate of olivine, at different application rates and grain sizes. This will provide answers to the critical questions of actual weathering rates of olivine occurring in rice fields.
  3. Crop and soil monitoring tests have been completed and evaluated to assess on different types of soils, the effects of olivine on crop production and soil conditions (e.g. pH, K, Mg, Si and Ni)
  4. An information and awareness raising program oriented towards local and international students (BSc, MSc and PhD levels), farmers, policymakers and industrial partners e.g. representatives of the fertilizer and mining industries, is designed, implemented and evaluated. This will consist of an active website, demo fields, lecture program, a schedule of academic reports, attendance of international and national conferences on Climate Change mitigation and field visits.
  • Content:
  1. The project will focus on the ability of olivine rock to sequester CO2 in rice fields. A number of sequestration measurement methods will be designed, tested, evaluated and ranked according to their usefulness to be applied under CDM projects.
  2. The most promising methods will be applied in about 20 field experiments on different rice fields with different soil types e.g. in the Mekong delta, where ground olivine has been spread with different application rates. From these tests the amount of CO2 sequestered and reduction in the other green house gasses methane and nitrous oxide as a consequence of olivine application will be determined. In addition, the plant production effects and those and soil fertility effects will be measured and compared.
  3. The study will be conducted over a period of 2 years during different rice cropping seasons. The study will establish demonstration fields as well controlled pot-plant experiments for which visits will be organized for farmers, local extension officers, students, policy makers and representatives from the mining and fertilizer industry producers. Besides, 3 Msc and 2 PhD students will conduct the experiments for their thesis. The results will be presented in international and national journals as well as on workshop and conferences. Finally extension materials and training programs for extension workers will be made which will allow extension workers to help implement olivine spreading projects.
  • Stakeholders:
    • Wageningen university
    • Can Tho University
    • IRRI
    • Vietnam Fertilizer Association
  • Sponsor and subsidy sources:
    • Gates Foundation
    • SCCF
    • Danish Bilateral Aid Funds.


  1. No major risks to farmers, students or researchers are anticipated. The grinding of olivine to a diameter of 0.1 mm makes it harmless for people to handle. Only particles with a diameter smaller than 0.01 mm are under international legislation regarded as particulate matter (PM) and thus as a risk for human health.
  • The risk for the spreading of olivine, usually containing a very small % of Ni on soils is insignificant unless extremely large tonnages of olivine are spread. However this risk depends on local legislation and local soil conditions.
  • References: relevante literatuur, publicaties en ander onderzoek.
  • Timeplanning: Total Project duration 2-3 years
  • Required resources: Euro 700.000,-
  • Contactpersons: VO QUANG MINH, Associate Professor University of Van Tho Vietnam, Hein ten Berge WUR (Wageningen University and Research), Olaf Schuiling University of Utrecht
  • Author and date: Wouter van den Wall Bake Board Member Olivine Foundation, 15-8-2015