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Engineering Group: Can we speed up weathering to help prevent climate change?

09 October 2019
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Event type:
Evening meeting
Organised by:
Engineering Group
The Geological Society, Burlington House
Event status:

To prevent dangerous climate change it may be necessary to not only reduce emissions to zero, but to also remove billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. Some have suggested that enhancing weathering reactions may be able to provide a means to this end.

Technologies that propose to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by chemical reaction with natural or artificial minerals are included in literature assessments of negative emissions, but have received substantially less attention compared to other proposals. This may include a range of ideas from crushing/grinding natural silicate rocks and spreading the mineral dust onto agricultural fields, or reacting carbon dioxide with alkaline waste materials (e.g. blast furnace slag).

This presentation will explore this emerging field, and the important role that professional and academic geoscientists may play in it.

Teas and coffees will be served from 5.30pm, with the talk beginning at 6.00pm.


Dr Phil Renforth is an engineer and geochemist interested in understanding how reacting carbon dioxide with rocks and minerals may be able to help prevent climate change. Phil currently leads two UKRI research grants on the Greenhouse Gas Removals Programme at Heriot-Watt University. These projects explore methods of reacting atmospheric carbon dioxide with natural and waste rock. 

Phil is Chief Editor of Frontiers in Climate: Negative Emission Technologies, Guest Editor for a Negative Emissions Special Issue in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2018/2019), and sits on the Editorial Board of the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology. He is also a member of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society, and helps to organise their annual conferences.

Booking information

This talk is free and booking is not required.


Burlington House
London W1J 0BG


Please contact Tom Hall, the event convener, with any enquiries.