Removal of atmospheric CO2 by engineered soils in infrastructure projects

M. Ehsan Jorat, Karl E.Kraavi, David A.C.Manning


The use of crushed basic igneous rock and crushed concrete for enhanced rock weathering and to facilitate pedogenic carbonate precipitation provides a promising method of carbon sequestration. However, many of the controls on precipitation and subsequent effects on soil properties remain poorly understood. In this study, engineered soil plots, with different ratios of concrete or dolerite combined with sand, have been used to investigate relationships between sequestered inorganic carbon and geotechnical properties, over a two-year period. Cone penetration tests with porewater pressure measurements (CPTu) were conducted to determine changes in tip resistance and pore pressure. C and O isotope analysis was carried out to confirm the pedogenic origin of carbonate minerals. TIC analysis shows greater precipitation of pedogenic carbonate in plots containing concrete than those with dolerite, with the highest sequestration values of plots containing each material being equivalent to 33.7 t C ha−1 yr−1 and 17.5 t C ha−1 yr−1, respectively, calculated from extrapolation of results derived from the TIC analysis. TIC content showed reduction or remained unchanged for the top 0.1 m of soil; at a depth of 0.2 m however, for dolerite plots, a pattern of seasonal accumulation and loss of TIC emerged. CPTu tip resistance measurements showed that the presence of carbonates had no observable effect on penetration resistance, and in the case of porewater pressure measurements, carbonate precipitation does not change the permeability of the substrate, and so does not affect drainage. The results of this study indicate that both the addition of dolerite and concrete serve to enhance CO2 removal in soils, that soil temperature appears to be a control on TIC precipitation, and that mineral carbonation in constructed soils does not lead to reduced drainage or an increased risk of flooding.

Removal of atmospheric CO2 by engineered soils in infrastructure projects

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