Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Natural Waste Solution for Reclaiming Contaminated Land

Published: Monday, July 15, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, July 15, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A charcoal made from biomass could hold the key to re-claiming thousands of square kilometres of polluted ‘brownfield’ land across the world.

In China, USA and UK alone it is estimated that brownfield sites – abandoned industrial and commercial land – covers an area in excess of 120,000 square kilometres equivalent to countries the size of England and North Korea, and the state of Mississippi, US.

Much of this land is contaminated, hazardous and costly to reclaim despite increasing pressures on valuable agricultural land, especially in developing countries.

One solution attracting the interest of scientists, chemical engineers and environmentalists is biochar, a charcoal made from natural waste known as biomass. Charcoal has long been known for improving soil fertility and structure. New research is now revealing its potential to control contaminants such as organic pollutants and heavy metals including Lead, Copper, Cadmium and Zinc.

Adding biochar has the ability to lock in chemicals such as Arsenic for slow release into the soil. A study1 comparing soil treated with biochar using waste rice straw was able to reduce the movement of heavy metals in soil by up to two-thirds.

Food chain safety can also be improved. Another study1 found that biochar, made from green waste compost, could significantly reduce the take-up of heavy metals in ryegrass, which is widely used in pastures for grazing animals.

David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), said: “Chemical engineers and other fields of study are looking very closely at the potential of biochar.

“It clearly presents an important opportunity to reduce the impact of harmful pollutants in the environment and bring back into use huge areas of unproductive land with global population expected to grow by nearly a third to nine billion by 2050.

“Some countries like the US and UK have made good attempts at quantifying abandoned or contaminated land.

“In England alone, it is estimated that an area equivalent to the West Midlands conurbation – around 66,000 hectares - is designated as abandoned or derelict brownfield land.

“The picture is less clear in other countries especially in fast developing and growing nations. The problem will need to be addressed sooner or later, and biochar could be the solution in many parts of the world”, concluded Brown.

‘Innovating to ease the strain of changing land use’ is just one of the issues identified in IChemE’s latest technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters. Major themes identified in the strategy include food, water, energy and health.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Biodiesel Production Goes Eco-friendly
New water-free process for the production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Plant Ageing Gene Key to Food Supply
Controlling the life-cycle of plants could be the solution to increasing food production as population exceeds nine billion by 2050.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Scientific News
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Grape Waste Could Make Competitive Biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.
Accelerating Forage Breeding to Boost Livestock Productivity
International expert skill-sets in genomics and bioinformatics enhance our capacity to breed improved forages for Africa.
Firefly Protein Enables Visualization of Roots in Soil
A new imaging tool from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny allows researchers to study the dynamic growth of root systems in soil, and to uncover the molecular signaling pathways that control such growth.
So Long, Snout
Research helps answer how birds got their beaks.
The Tree of Life — More Like A Bush
New species evolve whenever a lineage splits off into several. Because of this, the kinship between species is often described in terms of a ‘tree of life’, where every branch constitutes a species.
Algae Nutrient Recycling is a Triple Win
Sandia method cheaper, greener and cuts competition for fertilizer.
Non-Transgenic Rapeseed Product Launched For Chinese Market
Cibus and Rotam have announced a new agreement to cooperate in the development of herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China.
TGAC Leads Development to Diminish Threat to Vietnam’s Most Important Crop
Advanced bioinformatics capabilities for next-generation rice genomics in Vietnam to aid precision breeding.
BESC Creates Microbe That Bolsters Isobutanol Production
Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!