FERTICHAR - Enhancing nutrient use efficiency through legumes in agro-ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin
Camelia Ghimbeu, Centre national de la recherche scientifique; France
Olive residues, biochar, hydrochar, soil amendment, biofertilizer
In the Mediterranean region, olive mills produce huge amounts of olive mill wastewaters (OMW) as well as solid wastes (OSW) that are very rich in nutrients (especially K, N and P) and organic matter, respectively. Taking benefits from these two types of liquid and solid wastes in agriculture without health and environmental risks will certainly attenuate the climate changes negative impacts. For this aim, recently, in the frame of a well established collaboration between the French (IS2M and RITTMO) and Tunisian (CERTE) partners, Haddad et al. (2017) established a strategy for the recovery of the OMW. This strategy includes an impregnation of OMW on lignocellulosic biomass (sawdust) followed by a controlled slow pyrolysis step. This innovative strategy proved that it is possible to turn OMW from a pollutant source to green fuels, agricultural water and biofertilizers (nutrient-enriched-biochars) producer. Therefore, FERTICHAR will be the continuity of this innovative work and its main aim will be the environmental and agricultural valorization of nutrients-enriched biochars (slow pyrolysis) and nutrients enriched hydrochars (hydrothermal carbonization) from impregnated OSW (instead of sawdust) by OMW. FERTICHAR includes 5 partners form countries producing very high olive oil amounts: Spain (greatest producer in the world), Greece, Tunisia (greatest exporter) and France. The young researches implicated in this project have complementary roles and multi-disciplinary expertise. FERTICHAR is the first project to develop the use of nutrients-enriched-chars produced from olive mill wastes’ thermal treatment for a sustainable agriculture development and environment protection. The originality of this project is to adapt a complete processing chain, based on an innovative and environmentally friendly solution, to a particular environment challenge taking into account socio-economic aspects. The innovative production practices and measures will be demonstrated in field in the network of production systems. Indeed, nutrients-enriched-chars will be amended to agricultural soils cultivated with olive trees (circular economy concept) and high economical-added-values crops with the main objectives of: i) preservation of the natural resources since the use of synthetic fertilizers will be significantly reduced, ii) carbon sequestration and attenuation of climate changes, iii) growth of soil’s carbon contents, iv) important local socio-economic development thanks to the dynamic implication of the key stakeholders. Nutrients release, and pesticides retention from/by these chars will be modeled by an appropriate geochemical model and its outputs will be confronted to the experimental measures. FERTICHAR is structured in 7 work packages (WPs). Besides the coordination and quality assurance (WP1), the scientific work, related mainly to the characterization of the produced OMW and OMSW and the derived chars, the valorization of the formers for agricultural and environmental purposes (WP2-6), a separated WP was dedicated to exploitation, communication and dissemination of the main outcomes which are the result of co-generation of knowledge and co-innovation through the active cooperation with key stakeholders (farmers, farmer associations and local/regional actors). The wide geographic coverage of project partners will facilitate the access to international initiatives, pan-European and North African networks dealing mainly with the large sustainable development thematic. Moreover, for maximizing the project impacts, exchange of researchers and students will be also the core activities for innovation transfer. Specific convivial actions and tools (conferences, workshops, website…) will be organized/developed.Finally, the good management and implementation of FERTICHAR will be ensured thanks to active collaboration between the project coordinator, work packages leaders team (WPLT) and an external experienced advisory board.