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Breaking down carbon with rock and roll

Veolia conducts a trial, combining biology and geology to accelerate carbon removal through rock weathering, aiming to reduce energy consumption, emissions and timescales for carbon sequestration

Veolia, a resource management company in the UK, has partnered with FabricNano, a biotechnology startup, to conduct a trial combining biology and geology.

The trial aims to expedite the process of rock weathering for carbon sequestration, potentially advancing carbon removal techniques.

The collaboration responds to the imperative to meet UK net zero objectives, which require the removal of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by 2050.

Enhanced rock weathering (ERW) lies at the core of Veolia’s latest initiative.

By utilising large particle basalt rock fines and FabricNano’s patented enzyme technology, the project aims to expedite the removal and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This process, traditionally taking decades, could potentially be accelerated to just a few years with the incorporation of enzymes.

Veolia plans to distribute 30,000 tonnes of basalt rock across UK farmland to initiate its ERW decarbonisation operations.

The trial, conducted near Bicester and overseen by Oxford Agricultural Trials, utilises locally sourced rock particles, minimising transportation emissions and energy consumption.

Grant Aarons, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of FabricNano said: “Enhanced rock weathering with enzymes is a globally viable option for reaching net zero by 2050.

“Learning from nature, we repurpose the enzyme Carbonic Anhydrase, which naturally acts to lock carbon within the ground and which is found in plentiful supply in agricultural soils around the world.”

Marine Avisse, Head of Corporate Development of Veolia UK said: “Not only will this trial see enzymes accelerate the rate of enhanced weathering, it will also provide us with the data we need to replicate this across more applications so industries can tangibly meet their fast-approaching decarbonisation goals.”

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