European ultramafic soils are rather unfertile, although sometimes still used by agriculture, mainly in the Balkans, and contain high concentrations of metals as well as deficiency of major nutrient (P and K).
As a nature-based solution (NBS), the idea of phytomining metals emerged in the 90s and the goal was to cultivate plants able to accumulate trace metals from metal-rich soils and transport them to the shoots, which could then be harvested as a bio-ore to recover highly valuable metals, e.g. nickel (Ni). This concept has evolved as an integrated chain from soil management to production of bio-sourced refined metal products.
AGRONICKEL aims to implement agroecosystems which can lead to better soil resource efficiency and to offer a fully integrated, new agromining agriculture that could cover thousands of km2 in Europe and benefit local communities with sustainable rural development. Traditional agronomy has already been developed for the Ni-hyperaccumulator Alyssum murale (=Odontarrhena chalcidica).
It is needed a more resource-friendly agriculture: evaluation of all potential crops among Ni-hyperaccumulators and long-term effect on soil fertility and biota; optimisation of ecosystem services and of energy and metal recovery; and re-use of the by-products of the different stages of metal recovery.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.