LC3M Students discuss climate goals with the public at HUG festival

Jun 26, 2021

LC3M PhD Students, Derek Bell and Daniel Evans presented and answered questions from the public at the HUG Green Arts Festival held in Leek, Staffordshire on 26th June 2021. The festival hosted a variety of fun family based activities and booths meant to attract the public to the beauty of the Peak National Park and connect around climate change. An educational seminar was held by members of the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham, which included:
  • The UK’s energy requirements and the challenges associated with adopting renewables (Associate Professor Robin Irons, Univ. Nottingham)
  • CO2 capture and enzyme mediated methanol generation (Jennifer Hancock)
  • Enhanced rock weathering’s potential for carbon sequestration in the UK (Derek Bell)
  • Nitrogen fluctuation on grasses following basaltic rock and biochar amendments (Dan Evans)
The seminar also held a “question time” where the public had some thoughtful insights, which in some cases led to good natured debate.
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Green Sand Beaches Could Erase Carbon Emissions

Jun 20, 2021

Project Vesta wants to make sandy beaches greener — literally. By spreading a unique green sand over a Caribbean beach, the San Francisco non-profit hopes to pull tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it away for eons. Once placed on the beach, the green sand sequesters carbon all on its own.

The whole carbon removal field is really undergoing an incredible transformation. Almost five years ago, it was quite niche. Now, people are realizing that it’s actually a core component of climate action. We’re not going to meet our climate goals unless we have carbon removal technologies.” Professor David Beerling comments.

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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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