The Carbon-Capture Efficiency of Natural Water Alkalinization: Implications For Enhanced weathering

Matteo B. Bertagni, Amilcare Porporato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Enhanced weathering (EW) is a promising negative-emission technology that artificially accelerates the dissolution of natural minerals, promotes biomass growth, and alleviates the acidification of soils and natural waters. EW aims to increase the alkalinity of natural waters (alkalinization) to promote a transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the water. Here we provide a quantification of the alkalinization carbon-capture efficiency (ACE) as a function of the water chemistry. ACE can be used for any alkaline mineral in various natural waters. We show that ACE strongly depends on the water pH, with a sharp transition from minimum to maximum in a narrow interval of pH values. We also quantify ACE in three compartments of the land-to-ocean aquatic continuum: the world topsoils, the lakes of an acid-sensitive area, and the global surface ocean. The results reveal that the efficiency of terrestrial EW varies markedly, from 0 to 100 %, with a significant trade-off in acidic conditions between carbon-capture efficiency and enhanced chemical dissolution. The efficiency is more stable in the ocean, with a typical value of around 80 % and a latitudinal pattern driven by differences in seawater temperature and salinity. Our results point to the importance of an integrated hydrological and biogeochemical theory to assess the fate of the weathering products across the aquatic continuum from land to ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number156524
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Sep 10 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Alkalinization
  • Enhanced weathering
  • Natural waters
  • Negative-emission technology
  • Ocean
  • Soils


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