Enhanced Rock Weathering

Silicate rocks, such as basalt, absorb CO2 as 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.

About the project

The enhanced rock weathering 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.

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

Research team: Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen, Leeds, Oxford, Herriot-Watt, Cardiff and Southampton, National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Rothemsted Research, and UK centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Find out more about the ERW Demonstrator