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Tech startup Silicate set to remove C02 carbon permanently from the atmosphere


An Irish startup called Silicate is preparing for the initial trial of its advanced weathering technology, which is designed to permanently remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in oceans for tens of thousands of years. The trial will take place near Chicago, US, where 500 tonnes of crushed waste concrete will be spread over 50 hectares of agricultural land. Over a year, the ground concrete will break down in the soil, triggering an enhanced weathering process. During this process, the concrete will react with CO2 and convert it into carbonates, providing a long-term storage solution for CO2 emissions.

Silicate aims to reduce the environmental impact of greenhouse gases and contribute to the fight against climate change by storing the carbon dioxide in this manner. Maurice Bryson, Silicate CEO and co-founder, believes that their method of repurposing returned concrete to enhance productivity and carbon-removal capabilities on farmland could be a game-changer. This innovative approach not only addresses the issue of waste management in the construction industry but also contributes to sustainable agriculture practices.

Hastens the natural chemical weathering process and helps the Earth

Enhanced weathering accelerates the natural chemical weathering process by grinding silicate rocks into a powder, increasing the reactive surface area, and spreading the dust onto farmland. Silicate uses recycled concrete, the largest waste stream globally, instead of rocks. This innovative method not only accelerates the breakdown of minerals but also effectively addresses the waste management issue. By repurposing concrete waste, Silicate can significantly reduce the environmental burden while simultaneously promoting more sustainable agricultural practices.

The startup acquires unused concrete from manufacturers, processes it, and disperses it on agricultural land at no charge. Silicate then assesses the sequestered carbon emission, selling credits to major corporations to help them reduce their carbon footprint. This innovative approach not only addresses the issue of surplus concrete waste in the construction industry but also contributes to carbon sequestration in agricultural soils. In doing so, Silicate has created a sustainable business model that brings economic, environmental, and social benefits to both the construction and agriculture sectors, paving the way for a greener future.

Helps to balance the pH level in the soil — better crops, increased productivity

The technique is low-cost, safe for use on agricultural lands, and uses an abundant, easily obtainable material. Silicate projects that around 100 tonnes of CO2 will be permanently removed from the atmosphere during this trial alone. Incorporating this substance into the soil helps to balance the pH levels, enabling better nutrient absorption for the plants. Consequently, this leads to healthier crops with increased yield and quality.

Featured Image Credit: Mark Stebnicki; Pexels; Thank you!

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