June 14, 2023
Rock weathering has long been known as an elegant way to clean up the atmosphere by relying on the Earth's mineralization process but was always tough to measure. Enter Eion, a startup that innovated an approach to directly measure carbon removal by ERW and is building with the agricultural system to deliver jobs and economic benefits to rural communities.
Eion kickstarts (enhances) the natural mineralization process by pulverizing olivine, an abundant mineral that has been used for decades as a safe micronutrient fertilizer. Farmers apply the mineral to soil where it captures CO2 as it is exposed to rain and acidity. In a thermodynamically irreversible chemical reaction the applied minerals absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into stable carbonate minerals that are ultimately transported and safely stored for thousands of years in the ocean. Olivine is a great mineral for CDR and farmers because of its efficient weathering, has a high rate of CDR per ton of ore, and acts as a 1:1 replacement for agricultural lime (a soil conditioner farmers already use).
Getting minerals onto fields is only half the equation – rigorously measuring it to prove carbon has been removed is the other. Eion created a way to directly measure enhanced rock weathering using soil samples that farmers and ranchers routinely take. This newly patented measurement approach allows Eion to empirically measure carbon dioxide removal and provide the data to independent third parties for auditing and verification. This type of standardization is critical to building buyer trust in ERW and scaling the industry.
“Eion is committed to advancing rigorous measurement and standardization in enhanced rock weathering. Our patented measurement methodology, which independent third-party auditors can verify, unlocks one piece of this puzzle”, says Adam Wolf, Co-Founder and CEO of Eion.
The startup, founded in 2020 in Princeton, New Jersey, is the life's work of a team of agronomists and environmental chemists, who have been in the carbon management space for decades. The team is motivated to unlock the power of agricultural lands for climate benefits, while creating value for people along the way.
So far the company is growing steadily: In 2021, Eion entered into a 4 million US$ purchase agreement with marketplace Stripe before closing a $12 million Series A funding round. In 2022, Eion removed a total of 500 tonnes of CO2 with their enhanced weathering technique. In 2023, Eion announced that they had been awarded an industry-first patent for their direct measurement approach and will deliver around 8,500 tonnes of carbon removal by the end of the year.
As part of Carbonfuture’s Catalyst, Eion will now further strengthen a pioneering group of enhanced weathering companies working to build consensus around MRV, increase transparency, and ultimately build trust and unlock scaling bottlenecks. Eion states: “We’re excited to collaborate with Carbonfuture's Catalyst program and further industry alignment around a shared set of digital MRV practices to deliver the transparency and integrity that buyers demand.”