Sheffield researchers awarded £4.7m for major new greenhouse gas removal demonstration project

May 28, 2021

A team of scientists, led by Professor David Beerling FRS at the University of Sheffield, have been awarded £4.7m to develop a large multi-partner research project looking at the scientific, economic and social acceptability of using rock dust in agriculture to capture greenhouse gases.

Dr Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change at the National Farmers’ Union, said: The NFU believes that UK research on enhanced rock weathering for greenhouse gas removal addresses important applied research and policy needs, underpinning some of the national ‘net zero’ land-use decisions that will be made in the near future.  Demonstrating that enhanced rock weathering and agriculture creates a major carbon sink would be important for the delivery of our NFU net-zero ambition.

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World-first carbon sequestration trial launches in Wales

May 27, 2021

A first of its kind carbon sequestration trial has been unveiled in Carmarthenshire today. More than 25,000 new trees will be planted on 28 acres of land, with the trial aiming to accelerate and enhance the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through reforestation.

Running in partnership with scientists from Switzerland, the University of Sheffield, the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London and The Royal Botanic Gardens, the project will combine two nature-based climate solutions never previously deployed together at scale: forest microbiome inoculation and the deployment of enhanced rock weathering.

Talking about the potential benefits of applying basalt to soil, Professor David Beerling said: “Our recent research revealed that applying basalt to croplands could absorb up to two billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. This exciting new partnership with The Carbon Community enables us to understand basalt addition in a reforestation project, including the potential carbon sequestration when co-deployed with forest microbiome restoration.”

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Soil microbe transplant could improve tree growth and remove more CO2

May 27, 2021

The soil equivalent of a faecal microbiome transplant and the effect of sprinkling rock dust are to both be tested at scale in tree-planting schemes to see if they can turbocharge the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.

In the past few weeks, UK charity The Carbon Community has planted 25,000 trees across 11.5 hectares of former farmland in Carmarthenshire, Wales. This forest will host a trailblazing experiment to see if and how the two approaches can accelerate carbon sequestration.

The first involved taking soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi from a nearby established forest and using them to kickstart the saplings’ growth, which has the potential to increase the amount of carbon that will be locked up in the trees’ stems and the soil.

The second experiment is intended to speed up the natural rate at which rocks absorb carbon from the air, by taking basalt rock dust from a quarry around 30 kilometres away and adding it to soil during the planting, a process known as enhanced weathering.

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Landmark carbon study led by new charity, The Carbon Community

May 27, 2021

We’re excited to share this landmark field trial in Wales which aims to uncover a new reforestation approach involving co-deployment with enhanced rock weathering to accelerate carbon sequestration in trees and soil to tackle the climate crisis.

The study is designed and run in partnership with leading scientists from ETH Zürich Crowther Lab; Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield; The Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London; and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Enhanced mineral weathering in agriculture to capture greenhouse gases

May 26, 2021

A team, led by Professor David Beerling at the University of Sheffield, is coordinating a large multi-partner research project to assess the feasibility of using enhanced mineral weathering to capture greenhouse gases and enhance UK food and soil security.  IOM3 is a partner of the Expert Advisory Group.

Beerling says, “I’m delighted that UKRI have funded our greenhouse gas removal demonstrator project investigating all aspects of enhanced weathering, from science to society. This promising approach may have the advantage of simultaneously delivering co-benefits for UK crop production and soil health. We look forward to building our understanding of the role it may play in helping the UK Government reach net-zero by 2050.”

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UK invests over £30m in large-scale greenhouse gas removal

May 25, 2021

Professor David Beerling will lead a new £4.7M UK collaborative Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrator which aims to assist the UK in getting to net-zero by 2050, utilising agriculture and crushed rocks via three large scale field trials and targeted public engagement research.

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Agriculture, the Land and the Environment – Planet Philadelphia

Mar 29, 2021

How can the use of our land, particularly for agriculture, help with environmental protection and climate change?

Listen to the interview with LC3M Director, Professor David Beerling, on Planet Philadelphia’s environmental radio show.

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Innovative agricultural technologies could help meet food security and climate change emergencies

Mar 16, 2021

Scientists have proposed a range of technological options for sustainable, productive and resilient agriculture, which provide multiple routes for removing CO2 from the atmosphere to directly mitigate climate change. 

The team, led by Professor David Beerling, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield and Professor Steve Long, at the University of Illinois, proposed transformations of land management and agronomic practices including innovative amendments to soils, crop management and land use to promote atmospheric CO2 removal.

The research, published in Nature Plants, proposes that innovative technologies and new crop varieties, with increased photosynthesis and resource-use-efficiency, can maximally exploit agronomic practices and soil amendments to enhance carbon storage as well as food crop yields.

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Legume trees key to supporting tropical forest growth

Mar 10, 2021

Researchers have found that nitrogen-fixing legume trees can support themselves and surrounding trees not only with increased access to nitrogen, but with other key nutrients through enhanced mineral weathering. The team, led by the University of Sheffield and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, have published their findings in the journal PNAS which provide new insights into the role of nitrogen-fixing trees in safeguarding the function of tropical forests within the biosphere.

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Climate news quiz: Rock dust and heat-ready cities

Jul 29, 2020

Test your knowledge about ways the climate is changing.

Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to The Washington Post’s climate-related coverage. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.


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