Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Eion, our science, and how we work with the existing agriculture system.

About Eion

Eion is a carbon removal company. We use the Earth’s natural mineralization cycle to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere safely, permanently, and verifiably. Eion works closely with farmers, ranchers, and existing agriculture systems to improve soil health and create jobs in rural communities.

Eion has developed an olivine soil amendment with a carbon absorption rate of nearly 1:1—meaning for every ton of pulverized rock applied on fields, about 1 tonne of CO2 is removed. In 2022, Eion applied 500 tons of olivine, and in 2023, we will spread another 15,500 tons. Our operations are laying the groundwork to remove 10 million tons of carbon dioxide annually starting in 2030.

ERW, Carbon Removal & Direct Measurement

Enhanced rock weathering (ERW) is a natural, scientifically proven carbon removal process. For millions of years, Earth has been balancing carbon cycles on its own. The slow process of eroding rocks removes CO2 from the atmosphere and transports it away to be permanently sequestered. 

Nature came up with a pretty great process, if you ask us. So we aren’t reinventing it. Eion kick-starts the mineralization cycle by first crushing olivine minerals. Then, we work with the existing agricultural system to transport and apply the crushed minerals to working lands. Once applied, nature does the heavy lifting. Rain and soil acidity dissolve the olivine and help it absorb CO2 from the atmosphere before it is transported away to be permanently stored.

ERW has long been appealing as a carbon removal solution, but it’s been considered too difficult to measure. Eion has uniquely figured out how to measure carbon removal by ERW. Our industry-first patented approach directly measures carbon dioxide removed by mineral weathering in soils using immobile trace elements to show applied minerals removed CO2 from the atmosphere and were transported away to be permanently sequestered. This process can be independently verified for high-quality credit issuance.

Our measurement approach can be deployed widely for ERW with any silicate rock, and we aim to make this measurement methodology a foundation others can build upon so many kinds of ERW solutions can scale to deliver verified carbon removal.

Our olivine mineral soil amendment removes about one ton of CO2 per ton of rock applied. On the average acre, we recommend applying two tons per acre. We prioritize agronomic considerations and work with agronomic calculators to determine the recommended amount of product per individual acre to avoid over application.

Eion invented a patented approach to measure the atmospheric carbon removed by ERW in soils. We use before-and-after direct soil samples to show applied minerals removed CO2 from the atmosphere and were transported away to be permanently sequestered. Eion’s measurement approach can be deployed widely for ERW with any silicate rock, and we aim to make this measurement methodology a foundation others can build upon so many kinds of ERW solutions can scale.

Eion’s patented direct measurement process demonstrates total carbon removal with soil measurement before and after applying mineral amendments to farmland. First, our partners take direct soil measurements before applying olivine to farmland. Soil sampling is a routine part of farm management practices, used by farmers to look at soil properties and make decisions about nutrient applications to increase crop yield, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact.

Next, once the crop has been harvested, or in pastureland after four to six months, we take a second soil sample. Then, these two measurement results are compared to verify the amount of olivine applied, the total CO2 removed, and the impact (if any) of other trace elements and micronutrients on the land. We’re able to measure the carbon removed by quantifying the alkalinity fluxes from the root zone into the subsoil; the flow of alkalinity from magnesium is matched by a flow of alkalinity in the form of dissolved carbon between the air, soil, and olivine.

Direct measurement enables us to prove carbon removal has happened, rather than estimating using models. It’s critical to build trust in ERW, and with direct measurement we create abundant digital artifacts that can be audited and verified by independent bodies.

We’re working diligently to build the broad scientific acceptance needed to bring Eion’s measurement approach to the market by collaborating with research institutions, standards-bearers, and verification bodies. That includes collaborating with leading academics and experts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the Leverhulme Center for Climate Mitigation—you can read about the peer-reviewed paper Eion scientists co-authored with these institutions here.

Eion is committed to scientific collaboration with ERW stakeholders on important endeavors related to MRV that will unlock scale for this critical carbon removal pathway. We are working with ag leaders to expand field trials across a diverse range of soils, crops, climates, and management practices. Through partnerships with research institutions like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Sheffield, USDA-ARS Field Sites, Rutgers, AgMetrics, and the Illinois Crop Improvement Association, we’re helping build a robust set of data points on ERW. 

We believe in sharing what we learn for the benefit of all. Our co-founder and CTO Elliot Chang created the International Science-In-Industry ERW Working Group to further foster scientific collaboration, and Eion scientists also regularly present at international conferences, share white papers, and publish peer-reviewed research in respected journals.

Our Operations

Eion uses olivine in its operations—a mineral that has been approved for decades as a safe, effective micronutrient fertilizer in the US since the 1940s. Olivine is great at carbon removal, and most importantly it works great for farmers as a 1:1 alternative to agricultural lime. Olivine reduces soil acidity, delivers a high rate of carbon removal per ton of rock, and requires less costly labor by farmers to apply it.

Olivine is one of the Earth’s most common minerals and is found in the upper mantle, just beneath the crust. Olivine is so abundant that more water may be dissolved in the olivine of the Earth’s mantle than is contained in all of the oceans combined. Today, 80% of the global olivine production originates from Norway managed by family-run quarrying businesses that have safely handled the mineral for generations.

Farmers and ranchers like applying olivine to their fields because it helps balance soil pH levels, improving overall soil health. The mineral can be applied on any acre, from row crops to permanent crops and pasture, and even managed woodlands.

Other fun facts about olivine: 

  • The highest quality olivine is called peridot, the August birthstone.
  • In Finland, they use olivine in sauna stoves. 
  • Olivine is found naturally in some pretty cool places, like Papakolea Beach, which is an entire olivine beach on Hawaii’s Big Island.
  • Punta Cormorant in the Galápagos Islands is another olivine beach popular with stingrays and sea turtles.
  • Norway’s Lake Hornindalsvatnet, Europe’s deepest lake, has naturally green shores from olivine mineral deposits left by glaciers thousands of years ago.

We get our olivine from Sibelco, a leading mineral supplier. At Sibelco’s hydro-powered operation in Åheim, Norway, olivine is quarried and then pulverized to an Eion-optimized fineness for fast weathering on fields. Our partnership with Sibelco guarantees access to a plentiful supply of the mineral we need to scale. 

As a supplier committed to responsibly scaling ERW, safety is our foremost priority, and we are dedicated to closely monitoring the impact of our actions. We’re accountable to our partners, farmers, and the communities we serve as we strive to be responsible stewards of the land and its resources. 

Our before-and-after sampling methods aren’t just to verify how much CO2 is removed; we also use direct soil measurement to rigorously monitor and report on health and safety. Every soil sample we analyze accounts for total trace elements, including nickel and chromium which are naturally present in agricultural soils and in rocks.

In determining our safety guardrails, we rely on trusted data and risk exposure models from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA’s work shows no apparent risk from applying silicate rocks including olivine. We have reviewed all available research about olivine use, and to the best of our knowledge, no harm has been reported due to the application of olivine on farmland, including impacts on water, crops, livestock, wildlife, microorganisms, and food. 

Olivine has been a legally approved and labeled agricultural input since the 1940s in the United States, Brazil, New Zealand, and Australia. About 2 million tons of serpentine (a cousin of olivine) have been applied on cropland in New Zealand without adverse consequences.

While available data and research points to the safe use of silicates and olivine, we have implemented a number of operational guardrails to ensure we are acting as responsible land stewards.

We source our olivine from suppliers who hold very high environmental standards, like Sibelco, which has been in operation for 150 years and is recognized for their safety and health record and commitment to environmental stewardship.

Next, Eion works with fields only when growers and their trusted crop advisors determine rates for olivine application that are agronomically appropriate. These are highly specialized professionals with hands-on experience in agronomy and land management who have an incentive to operate in the best interest of the grower.

We’re conservative when it comes to olivine application rates, and recommend approximately 10-20 times less than what is typically published in the academic literature. Eion’s recommended application rate of 1-2 tons per acre is just enough rock to gently boost the soil’s pH.

Finally, our before-and-after sampling methods provide a touchpoint to continuously monitor concentration levels. By actively measuring the soil and olivine material, we ensure levels never exceed safe thresholds for plants, animals, or humans. This intentional feedback loop is pivotal to our commitment to responsibly scaling ERW and upholding scientific rigor.

Read more about how we responsibly practice ERW here.

Eion partners directly with established and trusted agricultural groups like Southern Ag. Through these partnerships, we have ready access to tens of millions of acres of cropland. This extensive supply presents a vast opportunity for Eion to continue scaling while acting as responsible land stewards. 

Crucially, our process can scale without imposing undue burdens on our farm partners. We’re using existing agricultural infrastructure, so Eion doesn’t have to build a lot of new facilities or buy a lot of new equipment. Our measurement techniques seamlessly integrate with standard agricultural practices, ensuring that we’re not asking more of our farm partners than they can afford.

As an aglime replacement, our olivine soil amendment can be applied once every two to three years either before planting or after harvesting, and farmers apply olivine with their regular equipment. The frequency of application is dependent on the acidity of the soil. Farmers and Eion soil specialists work together to implement an application strategy that’s best suited for their operation.

Eion rigorously tracks impact at every step of our process. You can read about our life cycle analysis here and explore the Eion ERW methodology here

Let’s Dig In!