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Carbonate precipitation in artificial soils produced from basaltic quarry fines and composts: an opportunity for passive carbon sequestration

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David ManningORCiD, Phil Renforth, Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The proportions of different carbon pools within artificial soils prepared by blending composts with dolerite and basalt quarry fines has changed over a period of 7 years, accumulating inorganic carbon as carbonate minerals newly formed within the soils. With no artificial energy inputs following construction, this is regarded as a passive mineral carbonation process. Carbon isotope data show that up to 40% of the carbon within the soil carbonate is derived from photosynthesis, mixed with carbon from geological sources (limestone present in the quarry fines). Organic matter within the soils shows very variable composition, with an apparent increase with time in the relative proportion of labile carbon relative to more stable forms, reflecting a change in the soil organic matter composition associated with the establishment of new plant communities. The rate of accumulation of inorganic carbon as carbonate minerals is estimated to be equivalent to 4.8 t C ha−1annually to a depth of 0.3 m, consistent with rates observed for accumulations of carbonate carbon in urban soils containing demolition wastes (annually 3.0 t C ha−1 to 0.3 m). There appears to be substantial potential for artificial soils to be designed expressly for the purpose of carbon capture. The process is analogous to the use of reed beds for the removal of pollutants from contaminated waters.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manning DAC, Renforth P, Lopez-Capel E, Robertson S, Ghazireh N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

Year: 2013

Volume: 17

Pages: 309-317

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

Online publication date: 14/06/2013

Acceptance date: 13/05/2013

Date deposited: 14/01/2014

ISSN (print): 1750-5836

ISSN (electronic): 1878-0148

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.05.012


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