About This Project
Natural rock weathering sequesters CO2 for thousands of years and provides essential nutrients for plant growth. In nature, however, this process is too slow to significantly mitigate climate change and restore soil fertility. With enhanced weathering (EW) we accelerate this process by spreading finely ground rock powders on agricultural lands. We employ this in the place with the highest potential for weathering and food security: the tropics.
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
Enhanced weathering (EW) is among the most promising Negative Emissions Technologies (NET) and has significant potential to improve soil health and food security. Although the overall potential is highest in the tropics, EW experiments have hithertho focused on the global North. Together with our unique network of farmers, scientists, mines and agronomists, we thus establish the first EW experiments in the tropics to catalyze the development of this frontier technology. The overall carbon drawdown efficiency depends upon various factors like sourcing of the rock powder or distance from mine to the field, which will all be optimized for our field trials.
What is the significance of this project?
EW in the tropics has the potential to tackle some of the biggest planetary challenges: climate change, soil health, and food security. However, high CO2 drawdown potential through EW is still theoretical. We desperately need field experiments to outline the actual CO2 capture capabilities of these processes.
If scaled accordingly, EW is one of the few negative emission technologies that could sequester CO2 in the Gt scale until 2050.
The tropics have by far the biggest potential, as the factors that accelerate EW are highest: temperature, rainfall, and very acidic soils. Furthermore, the tropics show the best agricultural results for rock powders regarding soil health and yield increases.
What are the goals of the project?
Exactly quantifying how much CO2 is sequestered by EW is still the biggest uncertainty. Oftentimes only some parameters like soil nutrients have been analyzed. These results likely underestimate real CO2 sequestration. To comprehensively quantify sequestration rates of EW we analyse on a weekly basis the soil water and on a monthly basis soil physiochemical data, and include regular analysis of plant yield and plant nutrient content (3-5 cuts per season). We already secured the field site with an oxisol (highly weathered soil type that is most suitable for EW), agronomically certified basalt rock powders (>800t), and will additionaly measure CO2 on and in the soil once the EGM5 arrives in Brazil.
We are an early-stage start-up that currently sets up the most comprehensive enhanced weathering (EW) experiments in the tropics. We work together with the leading global experts in the field, with whom the methodology has been created. Primary field data from the tropics are among the most essential data the EW community needs. We are currently purchasing the equipment for our field experiments, amongst others the CO2 gas analyser EGM-5. It is essential to acquire swift funding for this instrument so that we can proceed as fast as possible with this research project, which is at the forefront of climate science and agronomy.
Upon arrival in Brazil, we will install the remaining equipment and start with the overall baseline (soil, plant, gas, water) analysis. For the gas analysis we require the EGM5. The exact delivery time is uncertain due to possible import delays. We have the buffer option of using the university EGM5 until our instrument arrives (maximum 1-2months). In February of 2024 we will deliver the frist set of the hithertho most comprehensive tropical EW modeling data.
Jan 13, 2023
Finish the ordering and transport process of the EGM-5 CO2 analyzer.
Jan 24, 2023
Feb 03, 2023
Travel to the field site in Brazil together with colleague Dr. Elisabete T. Pedrosa. Niklas Kluger is already there.
Feb 24, 2023
Finished baseline analysis of the soil, gas, and water phase (necessary before the actual application of the rock powder).
Feb 28, 2023
Cut grass and application of rock powder.
Meet the Team
The core team members for this project are Niklas Kluger and Dr. Elisabete Trindade Pedrosa. More information about our company can be found via the link above.
I have been studying the agricultural application of rock powders for 8 years and finished my Ph.D. about remineralizing soils the beginning of this year. Through my studies, experiments and exchange with farmers I gathered a comprehensive and nuanced knowledge about rock powders in agriculture. It became clear already many years ago, that the tropics have the highest need but also the highest potential for EW. Thus, together with my research team I am currently creating the most suitable measurement methodology for EW. Besides that, I evaluate the wider impact of using rock powders, like indirect CO2 emission reductions through reduced fertilizer usage and import.
Niklas is an environmental engineer with a master degree in natural resource management. He worked at INFARM in Berlin and helped scaling the urban farming operations from local to global. During the last years, Niklas has developed a profound knowledge of the reality of tropical agriculture in Brazil while working with several NGOs and farmers in the country. Before founding Inplanet, he received various scholarships (DAAD, Deutschlandstipendium) for his agricultural research in the northeast of Brazil. He speaks fluent Portuguese and has the necessary network to scale enhanced weathering in Brazil.
Elisabete Trindade Pedrosa
As our head of science Elisabete has a profound understanding of the dissolution kinetics of minerals. She has been researching geochemical processes for more than 10 years and consequently developed ample knowledge of analytical methods (e.g., SEM, XRD, EMPA, AFM, ICP-OES, VSI). She is one of the few researchers worldwide who have primary experience on ERW field experiments due to her participation in the Carbdown field trial from the Carbon Drawdown Initiative.
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