Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pioneering project helps to transform brownfield sites into the ‘Trees Valley’

11.12.2007
A pioneering project, which could transform thousands of acres of derelict brownfield sites in North East England, is expanding after successful trials.

The University of Teesside’s Clean Environment Management Centre (CLEMANCE) is using willow and grasses to clean up contaminated sites once used by industry, a process known as phytoremediation.

Entitled BioReGen, the project began in 2004 with test planting at several small brownfield sites, the first being a former enamel works at Fylands Bridge, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The willow trees and the miscanthus, reed canary and switch grasses cleaned up the soil by absorbing contaminants such as, zinc, copper, cadmium and heavy metals in coal ash.

BioReGen believes the method can work on bigger sites and planting has now been carried out on five larger areas, each covering a hectare and all with a history of heavy industrial use.

The five full-scale demonstration sites are at:

•The former Haverton Hill shipyard on the River Tees, near the Transporter Bridge, where Dr Lord and Janet Atkinson are pictured.

•Part of the old Head Wrightson engineering site, at the Tees Barrage, made famous by Margaret Thatcher’s Walk in the Wilderness during a visit to Teesside two decades ago;

•A former colliery and coal yard at Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham;

•Warden Law, a landfill site, and former gravel pit, near Sunderland;

•A former sewage treatment works at Rainton Bridge, near Houghton-le-Spring, Wearside.

CLEMANCE believes the work, supported by a 1.2m Euros grant from the European Union’s LIFE-Environment research programme, has major implications.

Dr Richard Lord, CLEMANCE’s Programme Leader for Contaminated Land and Water, said: “When we started this project, we did not know if we could grow plants on such contaminated land but it has been a success everywhere we have tried it. We have proved that phytoremediation works and what works on a small site can also do so on much larger sites as well.

“It is also much cheaper than having to clean up a site or remove contaminated soils to landfill sites.

“It is also much cheaper than having to clean up a site or remove contaminated soils to landfill sites. Developers looking to do that spend millions of pounds per hectare, whereas our method costs only tens of thousands of pounds.

“The potential of our project is huge. There are 1,155 hectares of brownfield land in the Tees Valley alone.

“This is not a quick fix, though. To get a site ready for development through this method could take years but we are on the right track. We regard it as a holding operation until the sites are needed for industry again.

“In the meantime, we are making them attractive, and good wildlife habitats, rather than visions of unsightly dereliction which blight the image of the North-East. We are helping to create the Trees Valley.”

Clemance has also been negotiating with energy provider SembCorp about providing willow to the company’s recently-opened Wilton 10 wood-burning power station, on the Wilton International site near Redcar, east Cleveland.

Dr Lord said: “Wilton 10 has a huge appetite for timber and we can help provide it, particularly if we expand our planting over larger areas. What started as a research project has found a commercial application. This is as sustainable as it gets.”

Nic Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tees.ac.uk/docs/docrepo/publications/enterprise6.pdf

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>