CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by a variety of natural processes, including peat deposition. During this Vici project a group of researchers led by Kuiper will examine how much CO2 is captured by peat deposition and, ultimately, stored in rock strata. They will also examine the speed with which this takes place, and precisely which processes play a role. To determine this speed, existing techniques for determining the age of sediments will have to be improved. These techniques will then be employed on 55 to 66 million year old river sediments that were laid down in a ‘greenhouse world’ when CO2 concentrations were two or three times as high as they are today. This will allow the researchers to gain insight into the speed and scale of land-based carbon capture along time scales of thousands to tens of thousands of years, helping us to understand how the Earth naturally reacts to changes in the carbon cycle.
Vici funding, together with the Veni and Vidi grants, forms part of the NWO Talent Programme. Vici is aimed at senior researchers who have demonstrably and successfully developed their own innovative line of research. Researchers receiving a Vici grant are at liberty to form their own research group, often in advance of a structural professorship. In all, 22 researchers in the fields of the exact and natural sciences, and the social sciences and humanities received Vici funding.