Our Research


We are interested in combining approaches in Earth sciences and engineering to assess and develop solutions to global challenges. Particularly, we want to understand how   the carbonate system can be engineered the  to sequester carbon dioxide. Here are some of the areas we are interested in.


Atmospheric CO2 capture in waste

Alkaline materials (cement, slag, ash, red mud) are some of the most abundant wastes on Earth. They are also common in urban soils through demolition activity. Our research investigates how these materials might be used to scrub carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and help prevent climate change. We are also interested in how this can be combined with creating secondary building materials to create value and avoid sending materials to landfill.


Our work includes:

-Carbon sequestration in urban soils [Link, Link, Link]

-Dissolution kinetics [Link]

-Slag carbonation

-Carbon sequestraion and pollution behaviour in red mud [Link, Link]

-Production estimates/forecasts [Link]

Ocean alkalinity carbon storage

The oceans contain ≈38,000 billion tonnes of carbon, some 45 times more than the present atmosphere. Storage of carbon as alkalinity in the ocean requires the extraction, processing, and dissolution of minerals. This results in chemical transformation of CO2 and sequestration as bicarbonate and carbonate ions (HCO3-, CO32-) in the ocean. Dissolution of a mole of Ca2+ or Mg2+ sequesters close to 2 moles of C. So even dissolution of carbonate minerals (e.g. CaCO3) which contain a mole of C leads to some drawdown of CO2.

Our work includes:

-Assessing the longevity of carbon storage

-The engineering requirements of ocean liming [Link, Link]

Enhanced weathering [see wikipedia]

Chemical weathering is an integral part of both the rock and carbon cycles. Enhanced weathering is the application of finely ground minerals onto the land surface to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The release of cations during the dissolution of such  minerals would convert dissolved CO2 to bicarbonate, increasing the alkalinity and pH of natural waters.

Our work includes:

-Assessing the engineering feasibility [Link, Link]

-The dissolution of silicate minerals in soils [Link]

-Fieldwork on Greensands Beach, Hawai'i [Link]

Our Sponsors

We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors who include: Cardiff University, The Royal Geographical Society, The Natural Environment Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.


If you would like to support a student research project please get in touch. You can also support our research through Cardiff University (

Copyright Phil Renforth 2018