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Deriving nickel (Ni(II)) and chromium (Cr(III)) based environmentally safe olivine guidelines for coastal enhanced silicate weathering
Flipkens, G.; Blust, R.; Town, R.M. (2021). Deriving nickel (Ni(II)) and chromium (Cr(III)) based environmentally safe olivine guidelines for coastal enhanced silicate weathering. Environ. Sci. Technol. 55(18): 12362-12371.
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton. ISSN 0013-936X; e-ISSN 1520-5851, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    negative CO2 emissions; coastal enhanced silicate weathering; climate change mitigation; environmental risk assessment; nickel; chromium; olivine; ocean alkalinization

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    Enhanced silicate weathering (ESW) by spreading finely ground silicate rock along the coastal zone to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a proposed climate change mitigation technique. The abundant and fast-dissolving mineral olivine has received the most attention for this application. However, olivine contains nickel (Ni) and chromium (Cr), which may pose a risk to marine biota during a gigaton-scale ESW application. Herein we derive a first guideline for coastal olivine dispersal based on existing marine environmental quality standards (EQS) for Ni and Cr. Results show that benthic biota are at the highest risk when olivine and its associated trace metals are mixed in the surface sediment. Specifically, depending on local sedimentary Ni concentrations, 0.059–1.4 kg of olivine m–2 of seabed could be supplied without posing risks for benthic biota. Accordingly, globally coastal ESW could safely sequester only 0.51–37 Gt of CO2 in the 21st century. On the basis of current EQS, we conclude that adverse environmental impacts from Ni and Cr release could reduce the applicability of olivine in coastal ESW. Our findings call for more in-depth studies on the potential toxicity of olivine toward benthic marine biota, especially in regard to bioavailability and metal mixture toxicity.

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