12 May 2016

The rock dust in images

Participants representing different sectors (marine transport companies, plant biologists, geologists, economists or diplomats) engaged in fruitful discussions together with the international project collaborators present at that occasion. As a the first contributor, Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, underlined the global scale of the project and how it fits into the “Sustainable Development goals” of the United Nations.

Indeed, food production is one of the challenges of tomorrow, alongside with the environmental its impact of its. If rock dust may be found elsewhere than Greenland, the Greenlandic one has several features which makes it particularly suitable to contribute to the future of agriculture: for instance because of its geological location, it is one of the richest in nutrients worldwide.

From a lab perspective, Professor Andreas de Neergaard revealed the first and encouraging results of his studies carried out at the department of plants at the University of Copenhagen. The Greenlandic rock dust has a positive effect on plant growth. His team showed that within only 8 weeks, plants (in that case Lupin) has gained 50 % more of their biomasses when growing with a mixture of Greenlandic rock dust and other nutrients compared to plants growing without it. Yet to be determined what mixture of Greenlandic rock dust and nutrients would create the most efficient fertilizer.

Even though the preliminary scientific results are extremely encouraging, some questions remain unsolved regarding the economic development behind such a product. How can one determine its economic sustainability? What are the markets opportunities and the barriers? What are the infrastructures or legislation efforts needed for the success of this initiative? These questions will be raised in the years to come, alongside with the deeper characterization of the material. Stay tuned!