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Research project

Greenhouse Gas Removal via Enhanced Rock Weathering

Project overview

To meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 C above the pre-industrial level, it is now clear that in addition to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will need to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

One way we can do this is using a technique called enhanced rock weathering. As rain falls on rocks and soils, carbon dioxide dissolved within it reacts with rock and soil minerals, converting the carbon dioxide into non-harmful forms of carbon (hydrogen carbonate ions and carbonate minerals). By speeding up this process (called ‘weathering’), we can lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In this project, we will are carrying out a series of field experiments whereby we are applying crushed rocks to agricultural croplands across the UK to: (1) quantify the amount of carbon dioxide removal; (2) assess any potential additional beneficial or harmful effects of this technique; (3) determine the social acceptability of enhanced rock weathering; (4) provide a complete analysis of the sustainability of the technique as well as a roadmap to deployment at scale.

The University of Southampton team is leading work on quantifying greenhouse gas removal at the field sites. We are working with colleagues from the Universities of Sheffield, Cardiff, Oxford, Aberdeen, Heriot Watt and Leeds, Rothamsted Research and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.


Lead researcher

Professor Rachael James

Professor of Geochemistry

Research interests

  • Enhanced rock weathering and other techniques for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • Novel isotopic signatures of biogeochemical cycling, including iron, chromium, lithium and magnesium, and the response of biogeochemcal cycles to global environmental change
  • Exploration for new sources of metals and elements critical for emerging green technologies, including lithium and the rare earth elements

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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