Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neiker-Tecnalia develops new types of substrates using sewage sludge and metallurgical waste

21.03.2012
Neiker-Tecnalia, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, has developed new types of artificial soils––Technosols to be used as growing substrates in the greenhouses.
Sludge from waste water treatment, ash from biomass combustion, metallurgical waste, and barley straw have been used . The new substrates were found to have some ideal properties for plant growth, e.g. high levels of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), high acid buffering capacity, and organic matter stability. The research has been carried out by Dr. Fenxia Yao, who has recently presented it as part of the work for her PhD thesis, which constitutes the first PhD thesis in the field of Technosols in Spain .

In horticultural and forestry production systems, the production of container grown plants has undergone spectacular development in recent years owing to the advantage it offers over direct sowing or field crop cultivation. The total volume of crop growing media consumed in the EU is reckoned to be between 20 and 30 million m3 per year, with peat covering 85-90% of market needs. As peat is a valuable, non-renewable organic material, there is great interest in the quest for blends of waste products from urban and industrial processes that can be used to substitute peat, and which at the same time contribute to an effective use of resources.

Neiker-Tecnalia researchers, in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain), have developed new types of Technosols to be used as substrates in the greenhouse cultivation. They were formulated from mixture of sewage sludge, green foundry sand (sand used in the metal foundry industry to produce moulds into which the molten metal is poured), Linz-Donawitz slag (slag from steel refining), barley straw, and biomass combustion ash. Three different types of sludge were employed: anaerobic, aerobic, and lime-treated aerobic sludge. The proportions of each ingredient were: 5% of foundry sand, 10% of LD slag, 2% of barley straw, 23% or 33% of combustion ash, and 60% or 50% of sewage sludge.

The results show that the Technosols elaborated from anaerobic sludge contained a higher quantity of primary nutrients –nitrogen and phosphorus – as well as organic carbon, whereas the Technosols derived from aerobic sludge had the lowest level of organic carbon and macro nutrients. The Technosols formulated from aerobic sludge treated with lime had the lowest availability of phosphorus, due to precipitation of phosphates with calcio.

As regards plant yields, the results show that the highest yields are obtained in the Technosols made from mixtures in which anaerobic sludge was used as the organic component. This is consistent with the availability of the nutrients existing in these Technosols. Furthermore, the bioavailability of heavy metals has been efficiently decreased in the Technosols.

A channel for scientific research

The research was carried out by Dr. Fenxia Yao, who obtained her Bachelor's degree at the Shenyang Agricultural University (China), and her Master's and first Doctor's degree in the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences (China). Fenxia Yao has become the first person to submit a PhD thesis on Technosols in Spain .This thesis, supervised by Dr. Marta Camps and Dr. Felipe Macías, was defended at the University of Santiago de Compostela on 31 January. It opens up an important channel for the scientific study of Technosols and their applications.

Technosols make a considerable contribution to the environment. Apart from being used as growing substrates, they can be applied to rehabilitate areas degraded by activities to extract minerals, or by public works, etc. At the same time they serve to reuse both organic and mineral materials, which would otherwise end up in landfill sites.

Irati Kortabitarte | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elhuyar.com

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>