Crops grown on contaminated land co… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

The world wide bioeconomy is expanding, but it will have to overcome hurdles which include keeping away from levels of competition with land employed for food stuff creation. An EU- and marketplace-funded job is exploring utilizing contaminated and squander land for biocrops.


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By 2050, the world wide bioeconomy will need up to 24 billion tonnes of biomass, but the sector will have to overcome sizeable hurdles to attain its full prospective. These consist of a deficiency of farmer confidence in the marketplace for biomass, a deficiency of supply of biomass to the marketplace and the require to assure that land for biomass crops does not compete with land employed for food stuff creation.

The GRACE job, funded by the Bio-primarily based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a community-non-public partnership concerning the EU and the marketplace, is advancing the bioeconomy by bringing alongside one another 22 players from the agriculture sector, bioindustry and scientists. They are demonstrating the huge-scale creation of novel miscanthus hybrid crops and hemp crop types on marginal and contaminated land as nicely as the use of the biomass in producing a huge array of products.

‘There are tens of millions of hectares of marginal and contaminated land in Europe which could be employed to offer feedstock for the bioeconomy without competing with food stuff creation and at the exact same time add towards revitalising rural economies,’ states Moritz Wagner, GRACE job supervisor and a researcher at the College of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. ‘GRACE will exhibit that bio-primarily based price chains can add to local weather-modify mitigation by changing carbon-intensive fossil-primarily based products with biobased products with reduced CO2 emissions.’

Hemp and miscanthus

The job is focusing on two versatile crops – miscanthus and hemp. These can be employed in a huge array of applications central to the bioeconomy which include fundamental chemical compounds, biofuels, bio-primarily based making resources, composites and prescription drugs.

Project scientists have by now developed a new sort of miscanthus crop that can be grown from seed. Previously, miscanthus was planted utilizing rhizomes a highly-priced planting strategy. The new types are built to be of a higher good quality, to be cold- and drought-resistant and to have equivalent yields to the common miscanthus crop. Scientists are also learning the impacts of expanding miscanthus on land polluted by major metals to see the extent to which the pollutants are taken up by the vegetation.

GRACE’s miscanthus crops can be employed in making insulation, light-weight concrete – or concrete not employed for load-bearing needs – bioplastics, bioethanol, chemical compounds and solvents employed in industrial processes and customer products, in textiles, automobiles and electronics and in composite fibres.

The job has by now shown bioethanol creation from miscanthus straw at a pre-commercial bioethanol refinery in Straubing, Germany. It is also doing work on utilizing the extracted lignocellulosic sugars from miscanthus straw to deliver biochemicals for building bioplastics.

A use for by-products

The GRACE job is also exploring how to use by-products – for illustration, the creation of light-weight concrete utilizing milled miscanthus, and miscanthus dust, which can be employed in paper creation. One job companion is pursuing this utilizing miscanthus crops grown on unused land at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

In the meantime, GRACE’s scientists have correctly employed distinctive parts of hemp biomass which include cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, which is underneath progress for the treatment of epilepsy.

The job has established additional than sixty hectares of miscanthus and hemp on contaminated and abandoned land. GRACE researchers hope to lengthen the project’s momentum past its official endpoint via its ‘industry panel’, which connects distinctive sectors of the bioindustry to academics doing work in the subject of biomass.

This job was funded by BBI JU, a EUR three.7-billion community-non-public partnership concerning the EU and the Bio-primarily based Industries Consortium (BIC).