Agriculture & food

Pulverized rocks capture CO2 and improve yields

Accelerating the sequestration of carbon dioxide

Applying fragments of pulverized rocks in cultivated fields seems to produce interesting results from different points of view. Firstly, from an environmental point of view, they seem to be able to reduce greenhouse gases. As regards the production capacity of the land, this could even increase by 16%, to the great satisfaction of farmers.

Conclusions reached by a research group of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation of the University of Sheffield (UK) are contained in the research Enhanced weathering in the US Corn Belt delivers carbon removal with agronomic benefits  published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences- PNAS. The starting point is a 2020 research.

Sprinkle the soil with powdered rocks

At the base is a technique called alteration of the atmospheric agents of the rocks: in essence, it involves sprinkling the soil with pulverized rocks to enhance its ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. In fact, rocks naturally absorb carbon dioxide as they decompose in the environment. The process to enhance this natural process is to pulverize the rocks and add them to the soil to accelerate the process of CO2 sequestration. So, the more pieces you shatter the rocks into, the greater the total area available for carbon sequestration, so the more CO2 you can absorb.

Natural erosion occurs in a very long time: to accelerate this process you must proceed with a mechanical pulverization of the rocks. This material applies to fields along with other treatments, so no extra passage is required.

Increases the yield of soils

The 2020 research (Potential for large-scale CO2 removal via enhanced rock weathering with croplands, published in the scientific journal “Nature”) evaluated the possible results of the application of pulverized rocks in soils in different countries of the world. By applying this technique worldwide, it would be possible to absorb up to 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year, which corresponds to about half of Europe’s total emissions.

If it is not enough to think about the environmental benefit, a very interesting incentive for farmers comes from the increase in land yield that is in the order of +12-16%. This depends on the increase in soil pH, which enables the plants to better absorb the nutrients present in the soil. A further benefit, according to scholars, is the increase in the nutritional value of plants treated with basaltic rocks (basalt is a volcanic rock) powdered.

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