Serpentinite Slurries against Forest Fires


Forest fires are one of the commonest natural hazards. Forest fires make the largest contribution to CO2 emissions after the burning of fossil fuels. Here a new technology is proposed to extinguish forest fires not with water, but with a slurry of serpentine. Serpentinites are abundantly available in many countries on every continent. If serpentine is calcined, it weathers very fast and captures CO2. Calcination, however, requires a lot of heat, which makes it counterproductive to produce calcined serpentine for CO2 capture. In cases, however, where heat is the problem, like in forest fires, one can extinguish them to greater advantage by using serpentinite slurries instead of plain water. The calcined residue that is left as a thin cake on the burning material prevents oxygen to reach the burning material. It also prevents the escape of inflammable gases, and the calcination itself withdraws large quantities of heat from the fire. After the fire is extinguished, the calcined material in contact with the atmosphere will rapidly weather and capture CO2. This compensates part of the CO2 that is produced by the fire. In tests, where the efficacy of quenching fires with serpentine slurries was compared to the effect of water, it turned out that serpentinite slurries performed far better.

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Schuiling, R. (2015) Serpentinite Slurries against Forest Fires. Open Journal of Forestry, 5, 255-259. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2015.53022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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