Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 3,700+ 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

Odour-eating the Planet’s Smells
IChemE will be hosting a webinar on 10 April 2014, called ‘The Life and Times of Odours’.
Saturday, April 05, 2014
Biodiesel Production Goes Eco-friendly
New water-free process for the production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Sector Backs Push for Improved Safety
Hazards 24 event to be held on 7-9 May 2014 at Scotland’s Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Unlocking the Energy Potential of the World’s Waste
Latest technologies for converting energy from waste are being discussed at the 12th European Gasification Conference in The Netherlands.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Valeska Ting Awarded Sir Frederick Warner Medal
Dr Ting was presented with her medal and prize on 9 December at the Royal Academy of Engineering in UK.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
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
Whisky-fed Salmon to Boost Sustainability
New partnership will convert waste from whisky production into feed for salmon and fish farming.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Research Pilot Supported by Chemical Engineers
Pilot will help inform EPSRC’s strategy for chemical engineering.
Monday, September 23, 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
Chemistry-based Industry is Vital to UK’s Recovery
New report from the Chemistry Growth Strategy Group.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Smog Eating Street Reduces Air Pollution
Titanium oxide (TiO2) used to remove chemical pollutants from the air.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Chemical Engineers are Beginning to Play a Leading Role in the Treatment of Cancers
Engineers are helping to combat drug resistance and finding better ways of delivering treatments directly at tumours.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Sea Urchin Link to Climate Change Control
Sea urchin may hold the key to cost effective carbon capture and storage in the future.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Utilization of Circulating Biomarkers for Minimally Invasive Diagnostics Development
Market Trends in Biofluid-based Liquid Biopsies: Deploying Circulating Biomarkers in the Clinic. Enal Razvi, Ph.D., Managing Director, Select Biosciences, Inc.
Self-Assembling, Biomimetic Membranes May Aid Water Filtration
A synthetic membrane that self assembles and is easily produced may lead to better gas separation, water purification, drug delivery and DNA recognition, according to an international team of researchers.
Researchers Discover Immune System’s 'Trojan Horse'
Oxford University researchers have found that human cells use viruses as Trojan horses, transporting a messenger that encourages the immune system to fight the very virus that carries it.
Crystal Clear Images Uncover Secrets of Hormone Receptors
NIH researchers gain better understanding of how neuropeptide hormones trigger chemical reactions in cells.
How Cholesterol Leads to Clogged Arteries
A new study shows that when immune cells called neutrophils are exposed to cholesterol crystals, they release large extracellular web-like structures that trigger the production of inflammatory molecules linked to artherosclerosis.
Genetic Tug of War
Researchers have reported on a version of genetic parental control in mice that is more targeted, and subtle than canonical imprinting.
Ultrafast DNA Diagnostics
New technology developed by UC Berkeley bioengineers promises to make a workhorse lab tool cheaper, more portable and many times faster by accelerating the heating and cooling of genetic samples with the switch of a light.
Researchers Discover New Type of Mycovirus
Virus infects the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, which can cause the human disease aspergillosis.
Error Correction Mechanism in Cell Division
Cell biologists have reported an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and correct mistakes in cell division early enough to prevent chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy, that is, having too many or too few chromosomes.
How to Become a Follicular T Helper Cell
Uncovering the signals that govern the fate of T helper cells is a big step toward improved vaccine design.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!