Challenges and Solutions
Sediment weathering is a natural process that sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere. Decades of laboratory research have shown that it may be possible to increase the rate of sediment weathering by intentionally mining, grinding, and spreading easily weatherable rocks and minerals on beaches where the increased surface area (from mechanical grinding) and tumbling action of waves results in dissolution rates thousands of times faster than is typically found in nature. This process is called Coastal Enhanced Weathering (CEW) and is an example of a negative emissions technology (NET) which may be capable of removing significant amounts of excess CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere if applied at scale (~ 108-109 metric tons per year). The challenge is to understand how olivine sand is transported by wave action, currents, and tides in coastal ecosystems, leading to uncertainty about how and whether olivine sand may be successfully incorporated into coastal engineering projects.
The proposed work aims to understand how olivine-supplemented sediments will respond to coastal dynamics when deployed into a beach setting by using numerical modelling and flume tank experiments.
How olivine-supplemented sediments will respond to coastal dynamics when deployed into a beach setting?
- Does the olivine stay on the coast, does it stay on the surf zone?
- Will it concentrate in certain areas, or will it disperse?
- Will large volumes become buried, or will they stay at the surface?
Industry funding, ARC Industrial Transformation Hubs.
External partners and competition
We are not aware of other groups in Australia working on this space, other universities are doing enhanced weathering on land.
International partners: Vesta https://www.projectvesta.org/
Australian partners: AgSeq https://www.agseq.com/
Short and medium term goals and KPIs
- Perform modeling experiments to predict how coastal dynamics will influence the transport of olivine-supplemented sediments
- Carry out flume tank experiments to better understand how coastal dynamics will influence the transport of olivine-supplemented sediments at a granular scale