Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots

Monday, May 18, 2020

In 2016, EIT Climate-KIC supported a project called ‘Natural minerals for sustainable operations’ by helping to build a consortia and by providing funding. The project explored the use of olivine to significantly (net) capture atmospheric CO2. Since then, the project was carried forward by Dr Jos Vink, Senior Specialist, Sediment and Water Quality, Deltares, and his team. The latest iteration has been running since last summer and is called ‘Co-Action.’

Olivine is one of the most common minerals on Earth, composing 60 to 80 percent of its upper mantle. It reacts with CO2 to form carbonate minerals. The more surface area exposed to air, the faster carbon dioxide can be absorbed, therefore the olivine is crushed into small bits. One pound of olivine can absorb as much as one pound of carbon dioxide from the air.

Ground olivine is an excellent substitute for sand, for example, in infrastructural works and green areas. Over 853,000 tonnes of CO2 was captured in small-scale applications in Rotterdam civil construction projects. Scaling up to the national level could result in a capture comparable to annual freight traffic emissions. Previous studies have shown that dredging work can be carried out climate-neutrally using olivine. Additionally, the ‘waste’ product is acid-neutral and can be reused in agriculture. Other pilots show the application of olivine can be a substitute for lime and/or magnesium fertiliser in green and agricultural applications, resulting in added value. 

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