EGU21-14112, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Progress towards small-scale field trials of coastal enhanced weathering of olivine

Stephen Romaniello1, Shanee Stopnitzky2, Tom Green2, Francesc Montserrat2,3,4, Eric Matzner2, Cheyenne Moreau2, Drew Syverson2, Paloma Lopez2, Matthew Hayden2, Olivier Sulpis5, and Brian Ley2
Stephen Romaniello et al.
  • 1Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee Knoxville, United States of America (
  • 2Project Vesta,
  • 3Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 4Royal Boskalis Westminster, The Netherlands
  • 5Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Slow progress towards achieving global greenhouse gas emissions targets significantly increases the likelihood that future climate efforts may require not only emissions cuts but also direct climate mitigation via negative emissions technologies (IPCC AR5). Currently, such technologies exist at only a nascent stage of development, with significant uncertainties regarding their feasibility, cost, and potential unintended consequences and/or co-benefits.

Coastal enhanced weathering of olivine (CEWO) has been suggested as one potential pathway for achieving net negative CO2 emissions at scale. CEWO involves the mining of olivine-rich ultramafic rocks (such as dunite) for incorporation during beach augmentation and restoration work. While grinding this rock into increasingly fine particle sizes is essential for increasing its surface area and reactivity, this step is also costly and energetically expensive. CEWO attempts to minimize this cost and energy penalty by relying on wave and tidal action to provide ongoing physical weathering of olivine grains once distributed on beaches. Laboratory experiments and carbon emissions assessments of CEWO suggest that these approaches may be technically feasible and carbon negative, but significant uncertainties remain regarding the real-world kinetics of coastal olivine dissolution. Furthermore, concerns about the fate and ecological impact of nickel (Ni) and chromium (Cr)—potentially toxic trace metals found in olivine—require careful evaluation.

In 2019, Project Vesta was established as a nonprofit, philanthropically funded effort to evaluate the technical feasibility and ecological impacts of CEWO through a dedicated research program ultimately culminating in small-scale, real-world field trials of CEWO. This presentation will provide an overview and discussion of our overall research strategy, share insights from interim modeling and mesocosm experiments designed to ensure the practicality and safety of future field experiments, and explain our approach for ensuring transparent, responsible, and ethical research oversight and governance.

How to cite: Romaniello, S., Stopnitzky, S., Green, T., Montserrat, F., Matzner, E., Moreau, C., Syverson, D., Lopez, P., Hayden, M., Sulpis, O., and Ley, B.: Progress towards small-scale field trials of coastal enhanced weathering of olivine, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14112,, 2021.