It is a known fact to the science community that enhanced weathering is a natural carbon sink method that can sequester tons of carbon dioxide. Researchers are testing now how quarry rock dust can be used in conjunction with new forecast creation to accelerate carbon sequestration and make the process carbon negative.
A 28-acre test site has been established in Llandovery, Wales in the UK in a new forest of 100,000 trees to explore this idea. In one of the tests, the ground was treated with crushed basalt to enhance the forest’s carbon capture abilities. The results showed that the crushed basalt can absorb between 8-12 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere for each hectare treated.
“Rock weathering is one of the primary nature-based solutions that can be used to recover carbon emissions at scale; sucking 8-12 tons of CO2 per hectare from the air is really significant. Best of all, we’re accelerating a completely natural process. Our test at Glandwr Forest is a world-first where we are combining multiple nature-based solutions. We are excited about the potential,” said Charles Nicholls from charity The Carbon Community.
The research also points out that the CO2 sequestered from the air far exceeds the emissions from both transport and tree planting activities. That potentially represents an entirely new approach that makes forest creation entirely carbon negative.
According to Christine Wheeler – the Welsh Government’s deputy director of climate change and fuel poverty, in the current trajectory by 2080, South Wales can expect sea levels to rise by 42cm, including more days of temperatures over 40 degrees, wetter winters with storms producing large volumes of rain.
The country had managed to reduce 31% of its greenhouse gases by 2019, however, the challenge remains of marking a 63% reduction in emissions by 2030.
Mrs. Wheeler has commented that the target is “a very steep slope to climb” so Wales needs to accelerate the transition process. Carbon negative emission reduction strategies like rock weathering in forest planting could facilitate that transition.