What if, by turning just 2% of the beaches in the world green, we could shift the trajectory of the climate crisis? Project Vesta believes they can do just that. Their plan? Sequester carbon by accelerating the weathering of olivine. Let's talk about how.
The Earth’s carbon capture system has been thrown out of balance by humans. This natural cycle has been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a chemical reaction between volcanic rock, CO2, and water for billions of years. Without this process, which takes millions of years, Earth would look like Venus.
Today, the release of CO2 by humans is 40 times more than the natural cycle. That means there is significantly too much carbon in the atmosphere for the Earth’s system to manage. That’s where Project Vesta comes in.
Project Vesta's solution accelerates the natural carbon sequestration process by exposing silicate rock, olivine, to water and CO2, speeding up the natural cycle and effectively restoring ecological balance to our planet. Their plan is to strategically place olivine on high-energy beaches throughout the tropics. The warm water and constant tumbling motion of the waves would then break the rock down, dramatically accelerating the chemical reaction that powers Earth's natural CO2 removal cycle. This has a multitude of benefits; it's a carbon sequestration and ocean acidification solution in one.
The best part? This process is globally scalable and economically feasible.
Olivine is one of the most abundant materials on earth. It is safe (and even beneficial!) to ecosystems, and can be acquired for less than $25 per ton - and one tonne of olivine weathered means 1.25 tonnes of carbon removed. This powerful green rock literally takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Spreading olivine on the 2% of the world’s most high-energy beaches could remove 100% of humanity’s yearly CO2 output from the atmosphere. This means we could dramatically accelerate the Earth's natural CO2 removal cycle. That’s critical. We don’t have millions of years to wait.
Now that they have studied the research and devised the best plan for application, they are prepping for execution, first with a pilot test beach, and eventually at a global scale.
Will it be easy? No, but nothing worthwhile is - and this solution has a multitude of benefits. Olivine on beaches would remove and store carbon, de-acidify the ocean, and fertilize oceanic ecosystems. It’s through solutions like these that we will be able to bend the curve and ensure a regenerative planet. We can actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and we can do it now, but we have to invest and scale to do so. We are excited to see what comes next for Project Vesta. To learn more about their process, visit www.projectvesta.org.