Harnessing natural processes is no easy task, but one company is attempting to do just that…
According to a recent article by GreenBiz, 38 tons of CO2 are churned out by humans every day. Many scientists insist that reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is not enough in the fight against climate change; more needs to be done to actively remove carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. This process is referred to as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), whereby CO2 is taken from the air and stored in isolation.
One natural process that captures carbon from the air comes from the Earth’s carbonate-silicate cycle, by which rain falls on volcanic rock and weathers it down. This causes minerals to flow down into the ocean where a reaction absorbs CO2 from the air to be stored in rocks under the seabed. After a time, the carbon turns to limestone on the ocean floor and is stored for millions of years.
Project Vesta, a carbon removal initiative, has recently been launched with the aim of accelerating the natural weathering and carbon capture by harnessing natural processes. The project takes the volcanic mineral olivine (a magnesium-containing crystal found in igneous rocks), grinds it into a green sand and transports it directly to beaches and coastal areas. The natural power of wave energy breaks down the olivine and speeds up the reaction that removes CO2 from the atmosphere. Olivine also helps to deacidify ocean water and supports the health of marine life and ecosystems.
Olivine is a green volcanic rock found on every continent and is the primary component of earth’s ‘upper mantle’. According to Project Vesta, if only 2% of ocean floors were covered with olivine, we would sequester an entire year’s worth of human CO2 emissions. The project has been tested on pilot beaches to assess the rate and impacts of weathering, but it aims to expand worldwide in order to help reverse climate change on a global scale.
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