Frequently Asked Questions
Q: So, if this is such a great concept…. Why hasn’t it been done already?
A: Although the relevant science on ammonia sequestration and agricultural applications has been very well established for decades (see Scientific Support), natural zeolite deposits in the US are too small to address the magnitude of large-scale manure management. US zeolites are used more for small niche markets like cat litter, closet air fresheners, turf production and aquarium filters. Internationally, the largest zeolite deposits are in China where they are used primarily for construction materials. Furthermore, in the US, agricultural runoff has been considered a non-point source under the Clean Water Act, relieving farmers of discharge permits and incentives to mitigate. However, times have changed. Concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) regulations have become more stringent, and communities nationwide are experiencing – and filing lawsuits about – the environmental degradation caused by uncontrolled nitrogen losses from CAFOs and agricultural fields. BioGreen Technologies, Inc. has perhaps the largest deposits of natural zeolite in North America, and the motivation and ability to provide a significant benefit for sustainable agriculture at a scale never before imagined, until now.
Q: Can I put too much zeolite on my crops?
A: No. The more zeolite applied to agricultural fields, the better the farmer will be able to optimize ammonia-nitrogen availability while increasing irrigation efficiency. In fact, plants grow very well hydroponically with a zeolite substrate, as demonstrated on the international space station.
Q: Has zeolite been used in similar applications for managing animal waste products?
A: Yes. Commercially available zeolite has been used effectively for decades as a high-quality kitty litter, for removing toxic ammonia in aquaria, and in municipal wastewater facilities (see Scientific Support).
Q: Is the ammonia sequestered by zeolites available for crop uptake?
A: Yes. Studies have shown that ammonium ions can be slowly extracted over time from the zeolite via surface microbial activity. Since the 1960s natural zeolites have been soaked in ammonium solutions to load up the nitrogen content, and then placed on agricultural fields as a slow-release fertilizer that can last several years. Similarly, zeolites loaded with ammonium ions acquired from animal manures will be equally effective as slow-release fertilizers.
Q: Is zeolite toxic if accidently ingested?
A: No. In fact, zeolite is used extensively in commercial animal feeds, including feeds for swine, poultry, ruminants, and salmon. Zeolite supplements are approved for human consumption in Europe where they are marketed extensively for their health benefits.
Q: Is mining for zeolite similar to hard-rock mining?
A: No. BioGreen’s zeolite holdings are similar to sand and gravel operations, except no water is required for zeolite extraction. There is no overburden (i.e., no other mineral layer on top of the zeolite), so the relatively soft zeolite is easily removed from the surface.