Carbon dioxide efficiency of terrestrial enhanced weathering

Nils Moosdorf, Phil Renforth, Jens Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Terrestrial enhanced weathering, the spreading of ultramafic silicate rock flour to enhance natural weathering rates, has been suggested as part of a strategy to reduce global atmospheric CO2 levels. We budget potential CO2 sequestration against associated CO2 emissions to assess the net CO2 removal of terrestrial enhanced weathering. We combine global spatial data sets of potential source rocks, transport networks, and application areas with associated CO2 emissions in optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. The results show that the choice of source rocks and material comminution technique dominate the CO2 efficiency of enhanced weathering. CO2 emissions from transport amount to on average 0.5-3% of potentially sequestered CO2. The emissions of material mining and application are negligible. After accounting for all emissions, 0.5-1.0 t CO2 can be sequestered on average per tonne of rock, translating into a unit cost from 1.6 to 9.9 GJ per tonne CO2 sequestered by enhanced weathering. However, to control or reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations substantially with enhanced weathering would require very large amounts of rock. Before enhanced weathering could be applied on large scales, more research is needed to assess weathering rates, potential side effects, social acceptability, and mechanisms of governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4809-4816
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon dioxide efficiency of terrestrial enhanced weathering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this