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Carbon Storage and Management

Carbon Management

Research area

Soil and Ecosystem Ecology

Application

Agriculture

Global Challenge

The need to develop sustainable farming systems that restore and enhance the ability of soils to deliver ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and efficient nutrient cycling, whilst also maintaining food viable production for burgeoning world population.

Focus/Specialism: Grasslands

Our primary focus is on grasslands, where we are exploring how changes in the diversity and composition of plant communities influence soil carbon storage and nitrogen cycling, while also reaping benefits for biodiversity conservation.

Aims

  1. To advance understanding of the mechanisms involved in the delivery of ecosystem services from soil, especially soil carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention.
  2. To use our knowledge to develop sustainable management options for farming systemsto develop an improved mechanistic basis for management of carbon and nutrient storage in soil, thereby providing policy relevant tools for managing soil carbon and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, with potential benefits for other ecosystem services.
  3. Facilities

    Soil and Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory

Carbon Storage

A borehole used for commercial CO2 extraction, Colorado, U.S.A.

Mitigation of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations through anthropogenic CO2 capture and geological storage is a key societal issues. Safe CO2 disposal requires that we have a detailed understanding of the processes that control CO2 transport within different geological systems. Defining the fluid environment and processes is critical for all targets. We have 7 years experience of natural gas reservoirs with emphasis on tracing sub surface fluid flow and oil/gas/water phase interactions using noble gases and stable isotopes. These fields can be used as analogues for the fate of CO2 in carbon sequestration environments.

China possesses CO2 gas fields that suggest significant differences from the more comprehensively studied USA CO2 fields. In terms of mitigating CO2 emissions, understanding Chinese CO2 fields is at least as important as those in USA and will contribute in a major way to our understanding of appropriate conditions for safe CO2 storage. Burial of anthropogenic CO2 is one of the most important mechanisms for mitigating rising atmospheric CO2. Understanding the fate of CO2 during burial is key to the viability of this method of CO2 disposal. Using LEC's collaborative links with China, we hope to further understand this process by using Chinese gas fields that have not been amenable to study previously.