The aim of FORTE project is the cultivation of industrial hemp, flax and kenaf on contaminated mining and agricultural lands with dual scope: the soil remediation and the biomass production for industrial uses. The project will create practical information about the cultivation of these crops in heavy metal and metalloid polluted sites contributing to the optimization of the promising technology of phytoremediation using fiber crops under real field conditions. In addition, it will enhance the creation of new knowledge in the field of bioproducts and will encourage the development of innovative materials. The economic analysis, and the environmental and social impact assessment will support the optimization of the value chain of the produced biomaterials (particleboards and insulation panels) and will ensure a full package of best practices and optimal operations throughout the life cycle of the evaluated products.
The project will be implemented in a mining site of Greece (Lavreotiki peninsula, Attika) and in a contaminated agricultural land of China (Hunan Province). Lavreotiki is a long-term multi-metal contaminated site due to ancient (3000-200 B.C.) and more recent (1864-1982 A.D.) mining and metallurgical activities, while Hunan’s economy remains mostly agricultural. Hunan ranks first among China’s provinces in rice production. However, the soil concentrations of cadmium and arsenic in many areas exceed the threshold limits due to: i) industrial and mining activities that dispose their wastes in the Xiangjiang river. The water of the river is used for irrigation purposes, ii) the intensive cultivation and the extend use of agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides). Therefore, gaining knowledge for the remediation of a mining site (in Greece) and an agricultural area (in China) is quite important for both countries and the FORTE results will be used for cross-fertilization purposes.
The crops that will be tested for their phytoremediation potential are the fiber crops: