Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
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 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ 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

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
Liquid That Dissolves Pollution
Ionic liquids are able to dissolve almost anything and possess special properties which mean they always remain liquid and never evaporate.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Food Science that Fools Hunger Pangs
Feeling full for longer to satisfy appetites and help reduce snacking between meals is one of the solutions to reducing the amount of food we eat.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Food Engineering Solution to Obesity
Chemical engineers found that hydrophobins halve fat levels in some foods by replacing them with highly stable air-filled emulsions.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Tackling the Orange Waste Mountain
Orange waste used in the manufacture of paper; the absorption of pollutants; as a fertilizer; and a potential new fuel source, including bio-fuels and charcoal.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Scientific News
How To Keep Your Rice Arsenic-Free
Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have made a breakthrough in discovering how to lower worrying levels of arsenic in rice that is eaten all over the world.
Pesticide Found in 70 Percent of Massachusetts’ Honey Samples
New Harvard University study says that the pesticide commonly found in honey samples is implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
Printed "Smart Cap" Detects Spoiled Food
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes.
Red Wine Antioxidant May Provide New Cancer Therapy Options
Resveratrol and quercetin, two polyphenols that have been widely studied for their health properties, may soon become the basis of an important new advance in cancer treatment,
New Research will Show How the Environment Could Change the Way We Eat
A new study funded by the Wellcome Trust will investigate how environmental changes over the next 20-30 years may impact the way we eat, in the UK and worldwide.
Blue LEDs Can be Used to Preserve Food
Blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens and can be used as a chemical-free food preservation method, a new study has found.
FDA Declares Trans Fatty Acids Unsafe for Consumption
TFAs are widely recognized as the most harmful fat with regard to causing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Fat, Sugar Cause Bacterial Changes that may Relate to Loss of Cognitive Function
A study has indicated that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of "cognitive flexibility," or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.
How Anthrax Spores Grow in Cultured Human Tissues
New findings to help predict risk and outcomes of anthrax attacks.
Food Research at the Microscale
Thermal stage microscopy allows food science microscopists to analyze samples under a range of conditions.
SELECTBIO

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
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!