Clean biofuel production from contaminated lands - the Phy2Climate project

The Phy2Climate project aims to tackle the issue of soil pollution while creating a sustainable feedstock for renewable fuels at the same time. The project is funded by the Horizon 2020 EU’s Research and Innovation programme.

Certain plant species and their microbes have a large capacity for extracting heavy metals and organic pollutants from the soil. This is called phytoremediation. In the EU alone, almost 70% of soil ecosystems are affected by soil pollution, reducing food and water quality. By cultivating energy crops on affected lands, Phy2Climate will be able to remediate the soil and create a valorised harvest product. Of these crops, most are oleaginous and lignocellulosic species.

Through Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR) the biomass is converted into biofuels, for the road transport and shipping sector, as well as into bio-coke used in the steel industry. One of the advantages of this technology is its high feedstock flexibility.

The project is a collaborative effort of 16 companies over 9 countries. The pilot sites are currently being developed in Spain, Serbia, Lithuania and Argentina.

Solutions such as these allow for a myriad of benefits: for degraded lands to be restored and made available for agriculture, lowering the pressure in land-use competition, for increasing carbon uptake in the soils, and for making the development of renewable fuels an economically attractive endeavour.

Visit the Phy2Climate website to learn more.