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Six research bioreactors with wood chips are now in place

Six test facilities have been established in various geo-regions and thereby with various soil and weather conditions, and the research project is now entering a new phase: data gathering.

2018.10.29 | Janne Hansen

[Translate to English:] Direktør for Landbrugsstyrelsen Jette Petersen klippede den grønne snor til det nyetablerede minivådområde med filtermatrice fuldskala testanlæg ved Hofmansgave ved indvielsen den 26. oktober 2018. Foto: Janne Hansen

The CEO of the Danish Agricultural Agency Jette Petersen cut the green ribbon at the inauguration of the newly established bioreactor with wood chips full scale test facility at Hofmansgave on 26 October 2018. Photo: Janne Hansen

Et forbassin samt tre bassiner fyldt med træflis renser drænvandet fra 120 ha landbrugsjord for en stor del af vandets kvælstof og fosfor, inden det ledes ud i Odense Fjord. Foto: Janne Hansen

An entry basin and three basins filled with wood chips rinse a large portion of the nitrogen and phosphorous content in drainwater from 120 ha farmland before the water is led into Odense Fjord. Photo: Janne Hansen

With the inauguration of the brand new bioreactor with wood chip full scale test facility at Hofmansgave on 26 October 2018, an item on the to do list of the four-year project, which the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark has funded with 15 million DKK, can be checked off.  The completion of the facility at Hofmansgave means that all projected six test facilities are in place.   

The six test facilities have been established in various geo-regions and thereby with various soil and weather conditions. They are designed differently from each other and adapted to local conditions. Several parameters in the facilities can be altered with the aim of optimising the total nitrogen reduction and minimising potential negative side effects. The runoff season has not yet begun but the research project is now entering a new phase: data collection.

Approximately 45 people attended the inauguration, including the CEO of the Danish Agricultural Agency Jette Petersen, mayor of Nordfyn Municipality Morten Andersen, catchment advisers, companies, researchers, and authorities. Jette Petersen, who cut the ribbon, praised Hofmansgave for its willingness to be at the forefront and try new things on behalf of all farmers.   

- Contributing to agriculture's development is part of Hofmansgave's identity, she said.  

With targeted regulation farmers now have the possibility to apply more fertiliser to their crops. This possiblity must be handled sensibly so that the nutrients benefit the crops without having negative impacts on the environment. This was emphasised by the steward of Hofmansgave Dennis Stentebjerg Hansen: 

- The worst thing that can happen is that the authorities see an increase in nitrogen emissions following the adoption of the agricultural package. We farmers must be adept at using the extra application of nitrogen in a sensible manner by, among other things, using various measures – and by being ahead of the game. Otherwise, we risk new regulations.   

Thorough investigation of bioreactors as a measure 

At the request of the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, Aarhus University is responsible for the invesitigations in the project that comprises six test bioreactors with wood chips distributed various places in Denmark. A total of 31 million DKK is being spent on the project, including a special grant of 15 million DKK, 12 million DKK from the Department of Agroecology's share of the policy support contract, and 4 million DKK from research projects, including Future Cropping, BufferTech, and iDræn funded by, among other, Innovation Fund Denmark.

The project is being led by Senior Researcher Finn Plauborg from the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, and is a collaboration between the Department of Agroecology and the Department of Bioscience.  

The aim of the project is to create more knowledge and to evaluate how good this type of measure is at removing nitrogen and phosphorous – including in the long term – and how the cost efficiency is. The research and test facilities will also be used to investigate how potential negative side effects can be minimised.   

At the inauguration at Hofmansgave, Finn Plauborg gave a short talk about the new facility at Hofmansgave, including the fact that much knoweldge has already been gleaned about the leaching conditions at the manor in connection with previous projects carried out in collaboration with Seges. This knowledge can now be put to use in the new project. The new bioreactor will also be used as a demonstration facility.  

The facility includes a basin for storage of water for equalisation of water flow through the facility and stabilisation of the hydraulic retention time. Drainwater from 120 ha will be led through the facility and everything going in and out will be measured for all important parameters.  

For more information:

Read more about bioreactors with wood chips on the theme page about landscape filters.

Senior Researcher Finn Plauborg
Department of Agroecology, AU
Email: finn.plauborg@agro.au.dk
Telephone: +45 8715 7714
Mobile: +45 2218 1809

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