Enhanced Rock Weathering Shows Outstanding Results In US Corn Belt

Enhanced Rock Weathering Shows Outstanding Results In US Corn Belt - Carbon Herald
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A new study from the National Academy of Sciences published in PNAS reveals excellent results from a field trial of enhanced rock weathering (ERW) in the US Corn Belt. 

ERW is the nature-based practice of permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere and locking it away by spreading finely crushed silicate rocks (most commonly basalt) across agricultural land. 

The trial, which took place over the course of four years, serves as a strong demonstration of the positive effects of enhanced weathering, both as a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solution and a means of improving crop yield. 

Namely, thanks to the process of enriching agricultural soils with CO2, soil health and fertility were found to increase, thus benefiting the farmers using this approach. 

The study used mobile/ immobile trace elements to quantify in-field weathering rates, which is a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) approach promoted by ERW company Eion

It took place across a ‘typical maize-soybean rotation on an experimental farm in the heart of the United States Corn Belt’ from 2016 to 2020.

Relevant: Eion Makes First Delivery Of Enhanced Rock Weathering Carbon Removal To Stripe

The results showed a noticeable 12 to 16% increase in maize and soybean yields, a drop in soil acidification and better absorption of nutrients by the plant roots.

There also appeared to be no side effects from the practice, such as increases in trace metals found in either the soil or in the crop grains.

Hence, the study concludes that enhanced rock weathering represents a massive ‘untapped potential’ for CO2 removal at scale and a contribution to reaching net zero goals, while at the same time addressing issues of food and soil security. 

Read more: Lithos Carbon Announces 3,000 Ton Carbon Removal Purchase

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