FabricNano Is Revolutionizing Enhanced Rock Weathering With Enzymes

FabricNano Is Revolutionizing Enhanced Rock Weathering With Enzymes - Carbon Herald

A British company called FabricNano is shaking up the carbon removal industry with a revolutionary method that utilizes rock-eating enzymes. 

This breakthrough from the London-based startup significantly speeds up a natural process known as enhanced rock weathering (ERW).

ERW traditionally involves spreading crushed silicate rocks on land. These rocks react with rainwater to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into stable carbonate minerals, effectively locking away carbon for millennia. 

Relevant: Enhanced Rock Weathering Shows Outstanding Results In US Corn Belt

While backed by tech giants, ERW has faced limitations, primarily the slow pace of carbon removal.

FabricNano’s ingenious solution involves coating crushed basalt rock with a special protein powder containing carbonic anhydrase enzymes. These enzymes mimic a natural process, dramatically accelerating the carbon removal, reducing the timeline from decades to a mere few years.

Grant Aarons, CEO and founder of FabricNano, explained, “Learning from nature, [this protein] naturally acts to lock carbon within the ground. It is found in plentiful supply in agricultural soils around the world.”

Partnering for progress

Boasting nearly $25 million in funding, including support from celebrities like Emma Watson and tech icons like Biz Stone, FabricNano is venturing into carbon dioxide removal (CDR) for the first time. To test their innovative technology, they’ve partnered with French environmental services giant Veolia.

The trials will involve treating farmland near Bicester, UK, with a combination of the enzyme-coated rock and regular silicate rock. This open-air laboratory, managed by Oxford Agricultural Trials, will serve as a crucial proving ground.

The project leverages readily available resources like larger rock particles from nearby mines. This approach aims to demonstrate the technology’s effectiveness and scalability for capturing significant amounts of carbon dioxide. With vast agricultural land and abundant basalt rock reserves in the UK, ERW holds immense potential as a decarbonization tool.

Challenges and the road ahead

As with many emerging CDR technologies, ERW requires further large-scale validation. 

Grant Aarons emphasizes the need for continued innovation and robust government frameworks. 

Clear regulations are essential to legitimize carbon markets and incentivize widespread adoption of this critical technology.

Relevant: Metalplant Exits Stealth, Announces Novel Technology Combining Nickel Phytomining With Enhanced Rock Weathering To Produce Nickel And CDR

Veolia plans to distribute 30,000 tonnes of treated rock powder this year, with each tonne removing the CO2 equivalent to one carbon credit. These credits allow companies and countries to offset their emissions. 

While voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) aim to stimulate demand for ERW, accurately measuring captured carbon remains a challenge, impacting the valuation of these credits.

Grant Aarons reiterates the importance of government intervention in establishing transparent carbon markets and facilitating the deployment of ERW at scale.

FabricNano’s pioneering approach, combining biology and geology, offers a promising pathway towards tackling climate change and building a sustainable future. As they embark on this journey with their partners, their success could revolutionize the fight against climate change.

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