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Materials Planet Care

190: Spray-on soil

Problem:

Every year 30 million ac (12 million ha) of productive land are lost due to desertification and drought. By 2025 1.8 billion people will suffer absolute water scarcity and 2/3 of the world will experience water-stressed conditions.

Solution:

Spray-on soil. An inorganic binder with static electric charge and a homogenised dispersion of clay particle consisting substantially of single flakes of clay and air bubbles dispersed in a fluid.


In 2005, Kristian P. Olesen, a veteran in the HVAC industry, based in Stavengar, Norway developed a mixture of clay and water called Liquid Nano Clay.  Olesen’s vision and that of Desert Control, the firm he founded with Atle Idlund, is to “Make Earth Green Again”.

Sprinklers are used to spray the LNC 1.6 ft (0.5 m) into the sand. The binder composition of clay and air bubbles then helps the sand hold water so crops can be grown.

One major use of the binder composition is to reclaim arid and hyper-arid deserts and to prevent desertification and the movement and advancement of sand dunes, in other words stopping wind erosion efficiently. With this process any poor-quality sandy soil could be transformed into high-yield agricultural land in only seven hours.

In a field test made using the world-patented LNC in the United Arab Emirates, two areas were planted with a selection of crops: tomatoes, aubergines and okra.

One was treated with LNC while a second control area was left untreated. While the untreated area used almost 4838 ft³ (137 m³). of water for irrigation, the one treated with LNC used just 2860 ft ³ (81 m³), an enable saving of up to 52% of irrigation water and increase yields with less strain on scarce resources.

Using LNC, deserts have been planted with over ten thousand trees, wheatfields, pepper fields. Other successful tests took place in Pakistan and China.

Olesen proposes that the biomass produced from desert-grown plants could provide clean electricity to power the desalinisation plants from which water could be used to irrigate the green deserts.

Among the awards received by Olesen and his son is the World Wildlife Foundation’s acclamation of Desert Control as a Climate Solver.

Discover Solution 191: Beating guns into plowshares, watches and writing pens

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