We’ve been following UNDO’s progress for the last few years and have been so impressed with their focus on research and development prior to rolling out their plans to grow. Not only are they science-first, but their global outlook makes them natural partners for us here at Zopeful.
We’re thrilled to be working with UNDO and including them in our .
Type: Enhanced Rock Weathering
Permanence of carbon removal: 100,000 years
Locations: UK, USA, Australia
UNDO is a pioneering carbon removal company with an ambition to remove 1 billion tonnes of CO₂ by 2030 via Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW for short).
For the last two years, UNDO has worked at the cutting edge of science alongside experts in the climate, carbon and agricultural sectors to develop an enhanced rock weathering technology process which mimics the natural weathering of rocks to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Using existing by-products from local quarries, UNDO work with farmers to spread crushed basalt on nearby agricultural land with existing farm machinery. Their process leverages existing by-products and infrastructure to minimize the barriers to scaling up, while maximizing the net carbon removal potential.
Their enhanced rock weathering process has a carbon efficiency of 95 per cent, which means it takes out a lot more planet-heating carbon dioxide than it produces. The company employs over 50 people in the UK and the US.
To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, we need to remove at least 10 gigatonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere every year. Enhanced rock weathering is one of the most vital climate tech solutions available today because it is permanent, highly scalable, and provides a host of co-benefits.
CEO & Co-Founder, UNDO Carbon
It all started in 2019, when Jim Mann co-founded The Future Forest Company (FFC) - a reforestation effort with a mission to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and restore biodiversity across the UK.
FFC acquired 12 sites in three years, planting over 800,000 trees, and soon started exploring other ways of harnessing nature to permanently remove carbon dioxide. Realising that tree planting could only go so far in helping solve the climate crisis, Jim came across enhanced rock weathering in May 2020.
At this stage, ERW was only being explored in lab conditions by scientists, with no commercial application, but the CO₂ removal potential was clear.
In 2022, UNDO was born with the aim to deliver large-scale carbon removal projects with a permanence of 100,000+ years.
With a carbon efficiency of 95% and using an abundant rock like basalt, ERW has great potenital to scale up to millions of tonnes of carbon removal (& beyond!).
The basalt UNDO use is an existing by-product of aggregate and mining industries, so there isn't any additional energy needed to procure it. It’s also the most abundant rock on earth, enabling them to scale their operations.
Pulverising the rock increases its surface area, so when it's spread it covers more land. By doing so, more of the rock is exposed to rain, which is when the carbon removal happens.
They work with local communities to spread the crushed basalt on agricultural fields. This enriches soil health with this mineral-rich volcanic rock and reduces the need for costly artificial fertilisers.
Enhanced rock weathering is the acceleration of a natural geological process, whereby the CO₂ in rainwater interacts with rocks and soil, mineralises and is safely stored in carbonate form. UNDO's nature-enabled climate technology is permanent, rapid and scalable.
To achieve this they use basalt, a volcanic rock that forms when molten lava cools. It's the most abundant rock on Earth, enabling UNDO to scale its operations to hundreds of thousands and then millions of tonnes of carbon removal per year.
Fun fact: Much of the moon's surface is underlain by basalt. It's also found on Venus and Mars!
UNDO's ambition is to be the first company to remove one million tonnes of CO₂ by 2025, a first step towards billion-tonne (aka gigatonne) scale operations.
They’ve recently signed a partnership with Microsoft (as well as Zopeful), which is a catalytic first large corporate purchase of ERW.
To achieve Net Zero (& beyond) we need to grow global carbon removal capacity to somewhere between 5 to 10 gigatonnes per year by 2050. Enhanced Rock Weathering has the potential - from a carbon storage permanence, additionality and scaling potential - to contribute a significant proportion of the total we need to develop and deploy.
Zopeful's Carbon Removal Portfolios primarily look at solutions that are as-permanent-as-possible-for-the-$, combined with additionality and verifiability. As you may know from our climate courses, we're very conscious of climate justice issues as well. There can be no full transition to a zero emissions world that isn't just. We're including carbon removal partners in the portfolios that engage and include local communities in the countries they operate in.
UNDO's partnership model with local farmers drives profits back to the agricultural communities that are increasingly feeling the brunt of climate change. They do not import machines and talent, they enable local people to do carbon removal in their own community.
The basalt rock is supplied to farmers and spread on their land free of charge, or heavily subsidised depending on the distance from the quarry. By enriching soil health with this mineral-rich volcanic rock, UNDO is reducing the need for costly artificial fertilisers.
Mass-scale impact will only be possible if everybody can participate in the carbon removal industry.
Head of Partnerships, UNDO Carbon
We have great hope for UNDO and Enhanced Rock Weathering more widely. UNDO’s rigorous science-based operational approach ensures the application of this tech-enabled, nature-inspired, carbon removal solution is done in a considered and informed way.
Not only does ERW have the potential scale we like in terms of carbon removal perspective to help combat climate change, the crushed basalt also has the co-benefit of releasing nutrients that improve soil health, promote crop growth and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. When washed out to sea, the bicarbonate captured in the ERW process also helps deacidify our oceans and reduce the impact on coral reefs.
Who knew crushed rocks could be so incredible?!
Read more about Enhanced Rock Weathering and why we include it in our Carbon Removal Portfolio 👇
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