“New Phytotechnology for Cleaning Contaminated Military Sites”

Project is granted by NATO Science for Peace and Security Program (SPS), Multiyear Research Project (MYP),
Duration of the project: 54 month.
Project active day: October 6, 2016.

NATO country — Czech Republic

Jan Evangelista Purkyne University, Usti nad Labem,

Nato country Project Director (NPD) professor Valentina Pidlisnyuk

Partner country — Ukraine

National University of Life and the Environment, Kyiv,

Partner Country Director (PPD) assoc. professor Tatyana Stefanovska

NATO country — USA

Centre for Hazardous Substances Research, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas,
Co-Director professor Larry Erickson

Kansas State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Manhattan, Kansas,
Co-Director professor Lawrence Davis

Kansas Agricultural Experimental Station, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas,

Co-Director professor Ganga Hettiarachichi

Partner country — Kazakhstan

Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Almatu,

Co-Director professor Asil Nurzhanova

Partner country — Ukraine

National University “Lvivska Polytechnika”, Lviv,

Co-Director assoc.professor Pavlo Shapoval

Liasoning Institutions:
NATO country — Croatia

University of Zagreb, Zagreb,

Representative Researcher assoc. professor Zeljka Zgorelec

NATO country — Poland

University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plant Nematology Lab,
Representative Researcher Andrzej Skwiercz

Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences,
Representative Researcher professor Jacek Twardowski

Project summary

There are four significant topics that have been identified related to the NATO SPS MYP G4687 project:

  1. Increased security of former military sites.
  2. Alternative fuel for the military.
  3. Supporting Ukrainian experts in building new capacities on emerging technologies.
  4. The political merit of the partnership and activities in this project.

Some of these are connected, and this response includes comments that relate to all four of the topics. Because of efforts to address energy needs using biofuels and the growing population in the world, the amount of land that can be used productively and the yields from crops are becoming more important. This project has the potential to increase the environmental security of military sites, produce energy crops for military and civilian use, and improve the agricultural productivity of military sites.

The development of the science and technology to grow miscanthus productively on contaminated military sites in the countries of this proposal has significant political merit because these countries have significant potential to be major producers of miscanthus for biofuel use. There is already significant activity in these countries to produce pellets from biomass that can be used for winter heating and other energy needs.

The establishment of miscanthus on contaminated sites will stabilize the soil on the sites and minimize ecological damage by reducing further contamination through wind and water erosion. The addition of organic carbon to the soil through miscanthus production will reduce metal availability and uptake. There will be increased security of these contaminated sites by growing and harvesting miscanthus. The harvested miscanthus product can be pelleted and used for winter heating, added to combustion furnaces to produce steam, or used as a fuel to produce electricity. Having adequate fuel improves military and civilian security. Miscanthus can be used as an alternate fuel for the military, the biomass may be used for industrial purpose as building materials and source of cellulose for paper production.

Ukraine is an important country with respect to the proposed project because of the significant area of contaminated land, the climatic conditions are excellent for miscanthus production, and there is a significant need for the energy products that can be produced from the miscanthus. The KSG Agro Group and the Doran Group have been working cooperatively to establish a miscanthus plantation in some regions of Ukraine and a pellet production plant to produce biofuel pellets of miscanthus in Vinnytsa and Kjiv regions, Ukraine.

There is great political value associated with this project and the potential for the results to be of global importance. The relationships of the investigators with all who participate in the project will have significant political value in all of the countries (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic Ukraine, and United States).

Improving soil quality so land is more productive is currently among the key goals of 2015-2024 International Decade of Soils.