NRRI > Sediment for Biomass, Minnesota Mining Cluster - The Next Generation of Innovation
Last Update Fri Mar 15 16:01:00 CDT 2013
To conduct field trials of varieties of cellulosic feedstock on mineland tailings basins and other marginal lands using readily available soil amendment materials: clean sediments dredged from Duluth-Superior Harbor amended with treated municipal wastewater/biosolids. The objective is to conduct field-scale (>3-acres) research at one or more host taconite mines (or other brownfields/marginal lands location). Ultimate products will be: 1) identification of the most appropriate cellulosic feedstock species; 2) an assessment and proof-of-concept demonstration of overall waste and energy management planning and recycling in the region so long as sediment disposal challenges and mine land reclamation needs remain; and 3) energy development opportunity. Project findings would be applicable to other areas around Minnesota and the Great Lakes region, including tailings basins, gravel pits, brownfields, and other marginal lands.Progress is related to site selection, materials logistics, plot layout and vegetation management, including:1) Logistical planning for the movement of sediment from the Erie Pier Containment Facility to research sites is being finalized for 2013. Sediment will be transported, delivered and placed at the two mineland research sites. One site is at Keetac. A second research site at Hibtac was selected and plot marked. A presentation on this research resulted in additional interest from potential, future cooperators. 2)Planting stock purchased or propagated for this research was temporarily planted at the U MN station in Grand Rapids. Stock is being held, maintained and monitored prior to planting at the two research sites. Floristic inventories were conducted by a contractor at the two research sites. Additional species will be selected to optimize plant succession and the accumulation of organic matter in the sediment at the sites.
Marginal and unproductive mining lands, including iron mine tailings basins and stockpiles which no longer have economic mineral value to be recovered, have enormous potential to act as plantation sites for growth and production of cellulosic feedstock such as hybrid poplars and switchgrass. Large-sized basins and stockpiles and their location within active mining areas make them especially attractive targets for large-scale biomass plantation development that minimizes environmental impacts. However, the physical properties and relatively sterile nature of these sites requires adding supplemental soil-like materials and nutrients to support plant growth.
Logistical planning for moving material from Duluth Harbor to mine sites is underway. 1) The U.S. Steel Keetac tailings basin near Kewatin, MN, was selected for one experimental site. A second site is being considered. 2) Acquisition and propagation of plant materials continued.Shrubs are bareroot stock, unlike the hybrid poplar and willows which will be planted asrooted cuttings. All plant materials were stored them temporarily held in a local nursery.
Start Date 10/01/2011
End Date 09/30/2013
Steven Hauck undefined