Fertilising soils with silicate rocks and biochar can co-benefit soil CO2 sequestration and crop productivity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration in agricultural soils is promoted as a promising option for climate change mitigation. Two nature-based CO2 removal technologies are Enhanced Weathering (EW) and biochar amendment. EW involves the crushing and spreading of silicate rocks, such as olivine-rich dunite, to enhance CO2 consumption. The resulting increase in soil pH and release of nutrients may co-benefit crop productivity, while released heavy metals may have the opposite effect. Amending soils with biochar (pyrolyzed organic material) can increase soil carbon content, crop productivity, and heavy metal immobilisation. Previous experimental studies focused on single applications of either EW or biochar, yet data on potential co-benefits following their combined amendment is missing. We conducted a two-month greenhouse pot experiment growing maize (Zea mays L.) on soils mixed with different doses of dunite (20-220 t ha-1) with and without biochar (20 t ha-1). On a weekly basis, soil CO2 emissions were measured, and soil pore water was extracted for measurements of pH and total alkalinity. Upon termination of the experiment, nutrient and heavy metal concentrations were quantified in biomass using microwave digestion (HNO3-HCl-H2O2) and in different soil pools applying appropriate extraction methods, followed by ICP-OES and ICP-MS measurements. Soil and plant carbon contents were determined with a LECO CN analyser. These data were combined to quantify carbon budgets and heavy metal immobilisation. Our results show that CO2 sequestration increases with dunite dose, while biochar amendment mainly stimulates crop productivity. Important implications for combined EW and biochar applications will be presented at the conference.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 Book of Abstracts: Wageningen Soil Conference
Subtitle of host publicationWorking together on solutions for a sustainable world
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventWageningen Soil Conference 2023 - Wageningen
Duration: 28 Aug 20231 Sept 2023


ConferenceWageningen Soil Conference 2023
Internet address


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