Mineralization of CO2

Mineralization of CO2 is a natural process to permanently remove CO2 from the air and lock the resulting carbon into minerals. Mineralization is basically the natural process of rock weathering. It occurs when water and air get into contact with the surface of volcanic rock. In nature, this process is very slow as the exposed surface of rock is small. By crushing rocks and grinding them into tiny particles, the surface becomes magnified and all of the rock weathers in a timeframe of one year.

At RockFarm, crushed and grinded particles of volcanic rock are inserted to a ventilated environment. Automation technology is applied to control weathering conditions. Optimized weathering is an engineered process to improve quality, quantity and duration of mineralization. Our robots are artificial, but the applied chemical processes to fight global warming are still based on natural weathering of volcanic rock. Our robots speed up the natural process of rock weathering.

Robotics and AI

We apply advanced automation technology to optimize weathering and to operate it autonomously. Robotics and AI are our enablers to scale the removal rate of carbon dioxide to really impact global warming. Furthermore, it is our belief that saleable solutions should always add direct customer value. Desire generates demand. Demand leads to diffusion on a market. Our robots will be at service to our customers and provide direct value to the externals of facilities beyond removal of carbon dioxide.

Perimeter Walls

Every ground has its perimeter. We are inspired from the idea to remove man made emissions of carbon dioxide directly on the borderline to nature – the perimeter of each ground. This seems appropriate to us. And it is reasonable. Perimeter walls are well exposed to the natural factors of weathering: wind, rain and sun. Perimeter walls are the monuments in human history with the highest mass – until today. For a project that aims to mineralize material on a gigaton scale, walls are the best choice among all products. Each perimeter is already connected to infrastructure. All perimeters together form a giant network – the perimeter network. We want to transform this static network into an active and climate positive network which is at service for mankind. Our goal is a constant yield rate of mineralized carbon for each wall by continuously adding new material to the core of the wall and removal of mineralized material from below the wall.

Afforestation and Rock Weathering

Afforestation needs ground. Our walls need the perimeter of a ground, which consumes less space. If ground is not available to afforestation due to other uses, it can still become enclosed by a climate positive perimeter wall. Therefore, our wall extends the portfolio of available removal solutions.Our perimeter walls shall operate at a constant output rate from the third year after installation until it becomes teared down. Afforestation requires dozens of years until considerable amounts of CO2 is stored in the grown up trees. And once a forest is grown up, the storage rate settles. On the other hand, mineralization will continue at the desired rate as long as new material is added to the system. Thus, mineralization offers control over the yearly removal rate.

Construction Material

Wood, rock and steel are the basic construction materials of our society. Our goal is to establish a circular economy for mineralized material in the construction industry. Reuse of rocks has been a standard approach in construction for thousands of years. Why did we stop to recycle rocks? Mineralized material is not less valuable than “fresh” rock for our society. A main component of mineralized material are carbonates. Carbonates are widely applied as input materials in construction.

Why now?

Enhanced weathering has been considered in science as a suitable geoengineering technology for decades. But geoengineering is not a product and it does not offer direct customer value. Thus, it would require massive governmental subsidies.

Recent advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have enabled use cases in autonomous outdoor robotics. Optimized weathering is now ready for the market. With massive price reductions in robotics, optimized weathering will benefit from lowering cost for many years to come. Advances in artificial intelligence will enable to add further services to robotics with direct value to ground owners. We are willing to deliver these values to our customers.