CERESiS: “Making sustainable biofuels on formerly contaminated land”

CERESiS: “Making sustainable biofuels on formerly contaminated land”

ContaminatEd land Remediation through Energy crops for Soil improvement to liquid fuel Strategies

Biofuels are one of few options for decarbonizing transport in the short to medium term. However, they are often criticised for indirect land use change (ILUC), which is critical due to lack of high quality agricultural land and increasing world population. At the same time, significant contaminated land areas remain unused. CERESiS aims to provide a win-win sustainable solution to both issues by facilitating land decontamination through phytoremediation, growing energy crops to produce clean biofuels. In the longer term, this will increase the land available for agriculture, while producing non-ILUC biofuel.

The project is based on three pillars. The phytoremediation pillar will identify a range of promising energy crops, focusing on key contaminants worldwide. They will be trialed in North, South, Eastern Europe and Brazil, with samples characterised and converted to biofuels. The technological pillar will optimize two clean biofuel conversion technologies, Supercritical Water Gasification (SCWG) & Fast Pyrolysis (FP) integrated with novel contaminant separation technologies, focusing on eliminating, stabilising or retrieving the contaminants in an easy to manage form. The Decision Support pillar will develop an open access, modular and expandable Decision Support System able to identify optimal solutions for each application. It will incorporate land, phytoremediation, technological, economic, environmental parameters providing critical information to stakeholders & policy makers on the suitability of combinations of phytoremediation strategies and conversion technologies for particular sites, contaminants, environmental restrictions etc. It will include Techno-economic analysis of pathways, LCA & LCC, supply chain optimization, and performance assessment against SDG goals.

NRRE activities in CERESiS project will focus on the development and customization of beyond state-of-the-art de-contamination technologies for the conversion of the organic fraction and separation of inorganic contaminants from the SCWG and FP processes and the multiscale modelling and simulation of both processes. In more detail NRRE will:

• Develop a novel hybrid electrocoagulation (EC) – electrochemical oxidation (EO) process for the treatment of the high saline wastewater (brine) produced by the SCWG

• Customize membrane (MF/UF) processes for removing HM-laden char fines from bio-oil

• Work on the definition of appropriate KPIs for biomass conversion/decontamination processes and actively participate in training, dissemination and outreach activities

Partners from five EU countries, Ukraine, Brazil and Canada representing the entire value chain collaborate for the development and assessment of the integrated pathways. CERESiS – ContaminatEd land Remediation through Energy crops for Soil improvement to liquid fuel Strategies project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101006717.