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
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy