Our research is centered around the proxies, processes and carbon-sequestering potential of olivine weathering in seawater. We have performed different sorts of experiments, on different time and spatial scales, and with different degrees of complexity. For example, we have investigated changes in seawater chemistry (alkalinity, dissolved CO2 etc.) when olivine is added to it, and which seawater components affect olivine dissolution. We also looked at what the effects are of benthic macrofauna -invertebrate bottom animals like lugworms– on the dissolution of olivine.
In our research we encountered very interesting and consistent results, that tend to convey an optimistic message: olivine dissolution in seawater indeed counteracts acidification effects. This research was published in the beginning of 2017, in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology. In the article, we present values for olivine dissolution rates in seawater, which are needed to estimate how much olivine would be needed to absorb a given amount of CO2 from seawater, and how long it would take to dissolve. Essentially, we need these values to be able to determine the efficiency of the olivine dissolution reaction. The devil is however in the details, and that’s were the main research challenges are for the near future. Before applying olivine in a marine environment, the details of olivine dissolution need to be clarified. Besides the effects on the CO2 chemistry of the seawater, the downstream ecological effects are the main concern if olivine dissolution is ever to be implemented as a conservation measure. We have published a review article, also in 2017, in which we discuss the details of applying olivine in coastal environments, as a natural approach to mitigating ocean acidification.