Olivine is a mineral that has great possibilities to extract Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, according to the researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Geosciences and Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen, Kristoffer Szilas.
This mineral contains nickel, which is currently used in steel production and in electric batteries, but research shows that olivine also has incredible potential to alleviate the climate crisis.
The Danish researcher has been working to recreate the natural process in the laboratory – work that could potentially contribute to solving our climate crisis in the future.
“When olivine is pushed to the Earth’s surface, through tectonic processes, the mineral becomes unstable and reacts with the wind and the climate. This causes the olivine to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and be converted into a new mineral, a magnesium carbonate called magnesite. In this way, CO2 is stored in the mineral, ceasing to remain in the atmosphere as a gas”, says Szilas.
Scientists have known for some time the incredible properties of olivine, but now Szilas has been working to recreate the natural process, where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, in the laboratory. If the mission is successful, it can have a huge positive impact on the climate. “With 1,000 kg of olivine, 600 kg of CO2 can be extracted from the air. And as olivine is found in the peridotite of the rock, which represents 80% of the Earth’s volume, the use of this mineral has a great potential for effect on the climate”, says the researcher.