Redesigning soils

The challenge

While a significant focus is on reducing emissions and reaching Net Zero Emissions targets, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises that this will not be enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming: our world must actively remove historical carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. This is one of two projects that are addressing two of the key strategies for Carbon Dioxide Removals, namely soil sequestration of carbon as well as disruptive Negative Emissions Technologies such as Direct Air Capture.

 

Why this research is valuable

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is recognised by international thought leaders including the IPCC, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Swiss Re Institute and the Oxford Offsetting Principles, amongst others, as a critical strategy for reducing climate change which contribute to weather extremes, losses of habitat and vegetation, and threats to health, food, water and economic growth. As the largest body of terrestrial carbon, soils are widely recognised as an important sink for atmospheric carbon. Our work will improve the persistence of soil carbon by understanding and ultimately redesigning better soils.

 

Research themes

Soils contain the largest pool of terrestrial carbon. Increasing the persistence of soil carbon can be achieved by designing optimised soils in which maximum carbon levels can be maintained.

Implementation of methods to quantify soil carbon (and thus verify CO2 sequestration by soils).

Develop methods for increasing carbon in soil via DAC leading to high CO2 cropping (increasing biomass capture), understanding microbial processes and soil mediated by nanomaterials and improving the retention of carbon as microbial necromass adsorbed into nanomaterials.

 

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