Integrating phytoremediation with biomass valorisation and critical element recovery: A UK contaminated land perspective

Abstract

In the UK, the widespread presence of elemental contaminants such as arsenic and nickel in contaminated sites and more widely release of platinum group metals into the biosphere are growing concerns. Phytoremediation has the potential to treat land contaminated with these elements at low cost. An integrated approach combining land remediation with post-process biomass to energy conversion and high value element recovery is proposed to enhance the financial viability of phytoremediation.

An analytical review of plant species suitable for the phytoremediation of nickel, Arsenic and platinum group metals is reported. Additionally, a preliminary model is developed to assess the viability of the proposed approach. A feasibility appraisal using Monte Carlo simulation to analyse project risk suggests high biomass yield plant species can significantly increase the confidence of achieving financial return from the project. The order of financial return from recovering elements was found to be: Ni > Pt > As.

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