Demonstrator projects

As well as the CO2RE Hub, UKRI is funding five interdisciplinary projects to conduct research over the next four and a half years. The results will be used to shape longer-term government decision-making on the most effective technologies to help the UK tackle climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.

The demonstrator projects will investigate: 

  • Afforestation
    This project will gather evidence, address knowledge gaps and allow decision makers to explore the GGR consequences of different tree planting options and explore all the diverse aspects of forestry to identify "The Right Tree in the Right Place".

    Project lead:
    Professor Ian Bateman, University of Exeter
    Research Team: Universities of Exeter and Aberdeen, the National Trust and Forest Research and over 20 project partners including policy makers, all the Forestry authorities, many large landowners from the NGO sector and networks to represent farmers and the timber and building sectors.

  • Peatland restoration
    Peatlands store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem. However, as a result of human disturbance they are rapidly losing this carbon to the atmosphere. This project will work with natural processes to recreate, and where possible enhance, the environmental conditions that lead to peat formation. Simultaneously it will develop innovative approaches to augment rates of carbon dioxide uptake and store it securely for millennia. 
    As part of this project, three demonstrators will be established both in representative lowland and upland peat settings: South Yorkshire, near Doncaster; land owned by the National Trust in the South Pennines, and; the Aberystwyth University Upland Research Centre in Pwllpeiran, Wales.

    Project lead:
     Professor Christopher Evans, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology 
    Research Team: Newcastle, Aston, Durham, East London, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Bangor universities and project partners from government, NGO’s and business. 

  • Enhanced rock weathering

    This project will explore amending soils with crushed calcium and magnesium rich silicate rocks from waste quarry fines to accelerate natural CO2 sequestration processes. It will provide the first integrated whole system assessment of the science, societal and scalability opportunities and challenges of enhanced rock weathering deployment in UK agriculture. Field sites: The Plynlimon Experimental Catchments (mid-Wales), Rothamsted Research's North Wyke grassland experimental platform in Devon, and their cutting-edge arable research facility in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. 

    Project lead:
    Professor David Beerling, University of Sheffield
    Research team: Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen, Leeds, Oxford, Heriot-Watt, Cardiff and Southampton, Rothamsted Research,the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and project partners from the mineral and agricultural sectors.

  • Biochar

    Biochar is a stable, long lived, charcoal-like product produced from the burning of biomass in the absence of oxygen (pyrolysis). This interdisciplinary project will address the uncertainties concerning the extent and scope of deployment of biochar, including its stability with respect to carbon sequestration, together with quantifying effects on ecosystem services, economic viability and social acceptability. Field trials will take place at arable and grassland sites in the Midlands andWales, an open cast coal mine site in Cumbria, denuded railway embankments, and forestry sites in England and Wales. 

    Project lead: 
    Professor Colin Snape, University of Nottingham 
    Research Team: Nottingham, Leeds and Bangor universities, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Forest Research, the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre and project partners including from the agricultural sector, biochar producers and the international biochar community.

  • Bioenergy crops
    This project will address the technical and social barriers to the rapid scale-up of the perennial bioenergy crops, Miscanthus and short rotation coppice willow to support the implementation of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) in the UK. 
    Alongside existing field trials, new field trials will be developed at Bishop Burton College, Lincolnshire and Myerscough College, Lancashire.

    Project lead: 
    Professor Iain Donnison, Aberystwyth University
    Research Team: The work will be led by the Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in collaboration with Aberdeen and Gloucestershire University, Rothamsted Research, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and project partners representing the key energy crop growers in the UK.