19 03 2019

Valorization of contaminated land and development of sustainable value chains based on fiber crops

Large areas of contaminated land can be found all over Europe; these lands, mostly degraded due to former industrial activities, cannot be used for food production. Since the debate between land for food versus non-food production is getting more attention, the need to use these available sites is growing.

The New-C-Land project focusses on the valorization of these marginal lands in Flanders, Wallonia and the North of France region, by the implementation of new biobased and local value chains. Namely, several crops can be grown on marginal land and processed to produce bioenergy or biobased materials and products. Fiber crops (Flax, bamboo, hemp,…) who are making a comeback as raw material in the building and textile industries, have shown the ability to tolerate stress from heavy metals and to accumulate the metals in its tissues.

In the frame of the New-C-Land project, a pot experiment will be set up with a fiber crop, that will grow on different types of contaminated soils over Flanders, Wallonia and the North of France and will grow on different types of contaminated soils over Flanders, Wallonia and the North of France. Soil sampling has been done on different sites with heavily contaminated soil. This soil was collected from the site of a former sugar beet factory in Veurne in Belgium, from agricultural land nearby the site of MetalEurop in the North of France and also from a city garden, where industrial waste was dumped in the past, at Bazinghien in the North of France. In the pot experiment, the uptake of heavy metals during plant growth on these contaminated sites will be analyzed, as well as the quality of the fibers and the metal concentration in the fibers after harvest. In this experiment, New-C-Land will analyze if these fiber crops, grown on contaminated land, could be used for the production of safe bio-based products and if subsequently new local and bio-based value chains can be implemented.

Stay tuned on the next findings and development about this project!