How Sustainable is the Production of Energy Crops in Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Phytoremediation, the use of vegetation for the decontamination of different matrices, is not a very expensive strategy and has been presented as an approach to restore or attenuate and stabilize contaminated soils while bringing additional revenue to owners. Areas fouled by landfills, mining and industrial activities or polluted sediment depositions might be occupied with energy crops with the ability to take up and accumulate contaminants such has heavy metals. Use of contaminated land for the production of energy crops also reduces the burden associated with competition with food agriculture. However, sustainability of energy crops production in contaminated soils depends on its above and below productivity and the ability of the crop to restore value to the land on the uptake and accumulation/degradation rates for the substance of interest. In this context, the main purpose of this work was to evaluate the environmental impacts of the energy crops production in heavy metals contaminated soils. To determinate the environmental sustainability, different categories were studied: energy savings/losses, emission of gases, effects on the quality of soil and water, land use and biological and landscape diversity. Overall results suggest that the production of energy crops in heavy metals contaminated soils have positive and less positive aspects over production in non-contaminated soils. The productivity loss in contaminated soils diminishes the energy, and the greenhouse savings but the presence of vegetation may contribute to improve the quality of soil and waters and the biological and landscape diversity.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Event22th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Setting the course for a Biobased Economy -
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


Conference22th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Setting the course for a Biobased Economy
Period1/01/14 → …

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