Climate Impact and Sustainability
a) Expected type, scale, and longevity of direct benefits from greenhouse gas emission mitigation
Worldwide, agriculture is the second-largest source of climate change pollution —and both the manufacturing and application of fertilizer has a heavy emissions toll. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers (derived from fossil gas) and pesticides (derived from fossil gas and crude oil) both contribute to global warming, biodiversity collapse, and toxic pollution. From a manufacturing perspective, the production of the key component of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers is Ammonia (NH₃) which contributes between 1 and 2% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Ammonia has to be made at a high pressure under high temperatures—meaning it takes a lot of energy to manufacture. Most of that energy comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and methane gas, which give off the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change.
From an application perspective, synthetic NPK fertilizers also produce greenhouse gases after farmers apply them to their fields. Crops only take up, on average, about half of the nitrogen they get from synthetic fertilizers. NPK fertilizer applied to crops release an estimated 450 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year as a result of only half of the fertilizer being absorbed by crops — equivalent to the total energy system emissions of South Africa. Much of the applied fertilizer runs off into waterways, or gets broken down by microbes in the soil, releasing the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Although nitrous oxide accounts for only a small fraction of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, pound for pound, nitrous oxide warms the planet 300 times as much as carbon dioxide. Agriculture accounts for roughly two-thirds of global emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O).
MG climate safe, organic nano-sized fertilizer contains 78 trace minerals from its Montmorillonite deposits.
There are two types of greenhouse gas emissions that will be mitigated through the production of MG as an alternative climate safe and organic fertilizer. The first is the difference in emissions reduced during production of MG vs. NPK, the second is the reduction in greenhouse emissions because significantly fewer applications are required for each crop, 3 applications for MG vs. traditional NPK fertilizers and the higher absorption rate and lower amounts of nitrogen in MG mean less nitrous oxide produced.
b) Expected type, scale, and longevity of indirect benefits from greenhouse gas emission mitigation
Waste by-products are also an issue with NPK fertilizers. Nitrogen production requires extensive use of water and fossil fuels for manufacturing. When used in excess, nitrogen fertilizers can be oxidized and lost to the air as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a long-lived greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. It stays in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years and is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Potassium and Phosphorus are both mined ores. Phosphate production generates huge amounts of phosphogypsum wastes, nearly 48 million MTs in 1988 alone. Industry estimates that 5.2 tons of phosphogypsum is produced for every ton of phosphoric acid. Phosphorus processing also produces high quantities of naturally occurring radioactive materials. The environmental impact of potash mining is generally localized to the mine site, and may include the disruption of vegetation and wildlife, as well as large-volume water consumption and contamination. Then all three components (NPK) have to be processed together. This quadruple production process has massive negative impacts on the immediate environment and broader climate change impacts.
MG has no byproducts, either during mining or processing. The deposits are mined and 100% processed into micro-sized powder in the first step. During the second step, the powder is nano-sized and concentrated in water. 95% of all water is filtered and then used in the final product. The amount of water waste is negligible and safe. The number of by-products of any kind is also negligible and safe.
The secondary indirect benefit of MG is that it is applied to crops only three times during a growing season at an average of 1 gallon per acre as compared to 20 applications of NPK during a growing season, at 200 lbs. per acre. This increased efficiency, reduces the need for the volume of product, dramatically reduces the use and need for NPK at the level it is being used by producers today.
c) Other (non-greenhouse gas) environmental benefits
The dramatic increase in the use of synthetic fertilizers (NPK) since the early 1900’s has resulted in the depletion of naturally occurring minerals in soils. The Earth Summit concluded in 1992 that “There is deep concern over continuing major declines in the mineral values in farm and range soils throughout the world.” This was based on data showing a decline in nutrient levels over the last 100 years: Europe – 72% decline. Asia – 76% decline, North America – 85% decline. Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural and food industry with new tools for the molecular treatment of diseases, rapid disease detection, enhancing the ability of plants to absorb nutrients etc.
MG restores the soil over time, increasing the biologics in the soil, adding back in a wide range of trace minerals, replaces or dramatically reduces the use of NPK, reducing the leeching from the soil that synthetic fertilizers cause.