Carbon dioxide removal through enhanced weathering of basalt on agricultural land –Assessing the potential in Austria

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Thomas Rinder, Christoph von Hagke


Enhanced weathering through basalt application on agricultural land represents a proposed strategy for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It has been shown that enhanced weathering is principally feasible on a global scale, but it remains unclear whether it can be implemented on a local level. This information is however vital, to evaluate, if enhanced weathering should be further considered as a factor to alleviate the impact of the climate crisis. With this in mind, this article reviews of the current state of research and estimates the potential for CO2 removal on regional scale through a case study for Austria. Scenarios are estimated for three different particle size distributions (< 100 µm, < 10 µm and < 1 µm). Transport related emissions may cancel out any drawdown if grain sizes (< 100 μm) are used. However, under optimal transport conditions the large-scale application of particles with a diameter < 10 μm may remove about 2% of Austria's annual Greenhouse gas emissions. We discuss challenges towards this goal, including the enormous amounts of basalt needed and the energy requirement related to grinding, as well as uncertainties related to actual field weathering rates. Those uncertainties hinder the precise quantification of CO2 drawdown as of now. While enhanced weathering remains a promising path for climate change mitigation, further research at laboratory and field scale is required to put this technology to optimal use.



Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences


: Negative emissions, basalt weathering rates, carbon dioxide removal, enhanced weathering, soil amendment, Negative emissions, basalt weathering rates, carbon dioxide removal, enhanced weathering, soil amendment


Published: 2021-01-22 08:42

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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