Why enhanced rock weathering? 

Silicate rocks, such as basalt, absorb COas part of the natural chemical reactions that continuously erode away rocks over millions of years. As part of a process called enhanced rock weathering (ERW), silicate rocks are crushed and spread over farmland. Crushing the rocks gives them a greater reactive surface area, so they can absorb more CO2. The process may also improve crop health and increase yields.  

 

Tractor lays crushed rock onto field

About the project

The project will explore amending soils with crushed calcium and magnesium rich silicate rocks from waste quarry fines to accelerate natural CO2 sequestration processes. It will provide the first integrated whole system assessment of the science, societal and scalability opportunities and challenges of enhanced rock weathering deployment in UK agriculture. Field sites are the Plynlimon Experimental Catchments (mid-Wales), Rothamsted Research’s North Wyke grassland experimental platform in Devon, and their cutting-edge arable research facility in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.  

This Demonstrator project builds on the success and leading reputations of Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M) researchers and aims to assist the UK Government in getting to net zero by 2050.

Project lead: Professor David Beerling FRS, University of Sheffield. 

Research team: Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen, Leeds, Oxford, Heriot-Watt, Cardiff and Southampton, National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Rothamsted Research, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and project partners from the mineral and agricultural sectors.  

Find out more about the enhanced rock weathering project and follow on Twitter: @UKERW_GGRD.

ERW logo

Discover other GGR projects…

CEG char closeup of char on the ground of a field
Miscanthus grass close up
Photo taken looking up at large oak tree with bright green leaves

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The biochar project will address the uncertainties concerning the extent and scope of deployment of biochar, including its stability with respect to carbon sequestration, together with quantifying effects on soil health and ecosystem services, economic viability and social acceptability. 

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Woodland creation and management

The woodland creation and management (‘NetZeroPlus’) project will gather evidence to explore the GGR consequences of different tree-planting options and explore all the diverse aspects of forestry to identify “the right tree in the right place”.

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