Theme 1 – Earth Systems Modelling

Our Theme 1 programme is being developed across the following three strategic areas to address high-level questions concerning the capacity of rock weathering driven by intensively managed crops to capture carbon and ultimately affect future CO2-climate trajectories, ocean-atmosphere chemistry and marine ecosystems.

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Theme 2 – Fundamental Crop Weathering Science

Our Theme 2 programme is utilising world-class controlled environment facilities in Sheffield to elucidate mechanisms and genetic controls on weathering by major warm climate crops (maize and rice) to accelerate the development of new faster weathering varieties that maximise carbon capture and protection against pests and diseases, thus reducing pesticide usage and costs.

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Theme 3 – Applied Weathering Science

Our Theme 3 programme is undertaking large-scale field trials to address questions concerning rates of rock weathering in agricultural soils under natural conditions and how feedbacks, e.g., via nutrient release and pH change, may increase food/bioenergy crop productivity and slow soil greenhouse gas emissions.

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Theme 4 – Sustainability & Society

Our Theme 4 programme is addressing the real-world feasibility of enhanced weathering through integrated assessment modelling of its environmental and socio-economic impacts, assessment of a global sustainable supply chain capable of carbon capture and storage, and developing a responsible research and innovation framework.

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Latest newsView all

Greenhouse gas removal report

Sep 12, 2018

The Royal Society, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, has produced a report and associated summary to outline methods of greenhouse gas removal and how other influences like legislation, the environment, economics or social factors will affect their deployment. The report also considers how they might plausibly be used in the UK and globally to meet climate goals.

Methods such as growing forests, enhancing mineral weathering, and direct capture of CO2 from the air have been considered for the role they could play in counteracting hard-to-cut emissions like agriculture and air travel, and in preventing some of the more dangerous impacts of climate change.

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Farming crops with rocks to reduce CO2 and improve global food security

Feb 20, 2018

Pioneering research by LC3M suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased protection from pests and diseases while restoring soil structure and fertility.

The research, published 19 February 2018 in Nature Plants, examined the approach which involves amending soils with abundant crushed silicate rocks, like basalt, left over from ancient volcanic eruptions. As these minute rock grains dissolve chemically in soils, they take up carbon dioxide and release plant-essential nutrients.

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How ‘enhanced weathering’ could slow climate change and boost crop yields

Feb 20, 2018

Guest post by Prof David Beerling and Prof Stephen Long to coincide with the Nature Plants paper ‘Farming with crops and rocks to address global climate, food and soil security’, published 19 February 2018. The paper tackles the under-discussed technique of CO2 removal called “enhanced rock weathering” and highlights the potential wider benefits for crop yields and soil health, and sets out a research agenda for the next steps.

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