Plants have long been used as sources of food and fiber. Their ability to capture solar energy to sequester carbon from the atmosphere coupled with the acquisition of mineral nutrients and other compounds from the soil to support growth is a remarkable combination. Some plants have developed unique characteristics that allow them to thrive in harsh environments, including the ability to accumulate and metabolize various organic compounds. Incorporating these plants in cultivated systems allows remediation (phytoremediation) of soil and water contaminants. Fast growing trees, such as poplar or willow, that transpire high volumes of water can be used to intercept contaminated groundwater and remove dissolved contaminants where they can be degraded through metabolic processes in the plant.
Approach and Implementation
Edenspace is partnering with Dr. Sharon Doty’s laboratory at the University of Washington to develop phytoremediation systems with improved capabilities for degrading contaminants in groundwater. Particular varieties of poplar and willow have also been found to support symbiotic microbial organisms (endophytes) in the plant tissues. These endophytic organisms improve plant tolerance to stress, increase degradation of contaminants and improve nutrient utilization by the plant. Edenspace is currently testing the improved efficacy of these applications in field trials.
Characteristics of poplar systems that make them particularly useful in remediation systems include:
Hybrid poplar is a fast growing tree (up to 10 ft. per year) that produce high biomass yields.
Poplar has an extensive root system that can reach 20-30 feet beneath the surface.
Poplar has a high rate of transpiration, with one field study estimating approximately 5,000 gallons taken up per day per acre allowing removal of large quantities of contaminated water.
Edenspace Systems Corporation provides technical services for plant-based solutions through site assessments, laboratory treatability studies, pilot-scale studies and full scale technologies. With more than forty completed field projects, Edenspace has the experience to successfully implement plant-based solutions to address a wide variety of customer needs. We seek to develop tailored solutions for clients through direct contact on a regular basis to help ensure customer satisfaction from development through deployment.
For further information please contact:
Michael J. Blaylock, Ph.D.
Edenspace Systems Corporation