OR: The need for enhanced silicate weathering
Enhanced mineral (silicate) weathering
Amongst the negative emissions technologies (NETs), enhanced silicate weathering (ESW) is one of the most promising technologies and aims to speed up the natural CO2 neutralization process by artificially stimulating the weathering rate of rock (silicate) minerals such as olivine.
The Idea is to take mined silicate rocks, grind these to small grain sizes and spread these over suitable areas. This is the main working procedure for both terrestrial as well as aquatic applications. The mineral grains are then chemically weathered (i.e. dissolve) and thereby capture CO2 from the atmosphere directly in terrestrial applications or increase CO2 uptake from the aqueous medium by increasing the water’s alkalinity or the consumption of protons (Montserrat et al. 2017) in the open ocean and coastal applications.
Coastal enhanced silicate weathering
Of the three ESW application types, coastal ESW has the advantage that it also counteracts ocean acidification, does not interfere with terrestrial land use and can be directly integrated into existing coastal management programs with existing (dredging) technology. The potential of this technology is highly promising but requires further study (see more on The Project).
Read more on ESW:
- Global impact of NETs
- Smith et al. (2015). Nat. Clim. Change 6: 42-50.
- CO2 removal with EW
Bach et al. (2019) Front. Clim. 1: 7.
- Farming with crops and rocks
Beerling et al. (2018). Nature Plants 4: 138–147.
Read more on coastal ESW:
- Olivine dissolution in seawater Montserrat et al. (2017). Environ. Sci. Technol. 51: 3960-3972.
- ESW in coastal environments Meysman and Montserrat (2017). Biol. Lett. 13: 20160905.
The key scientific challenge of the project is to examine the economic viability and environmental
feasibility of this new, innovative NET: enhanced silicate weathering integrated into coastal zone management (coastal ESW).
Unique mesocosm facilities enable to closely track the silicate dissolution dynamics in a natural setting, while offering the possibility to test different application scenarios.
The overall Challenge
Preventing the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will no be enough to meet set climate targets (The Paris Agreement, UNFCCC). Active removal of CO2 using NETs will be essential.
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Check out the latest publications on enhanced silicate weathering.Read more here
Prof. Filip Meysman heads Belgian’s research on coastal enhanced silicate weathering.
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+32 494 06 43 27
University of Antwerp
Campus Drie Eiken
Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium