Industrial pollution and improper waste disposal practices in the past have created large swaths of land in the Chicago Region which are polluted and cannot be used for most normal uses. The pollution in many cases makes their use financially risky, since some sort of pollution abatement is almost always required.
Objective: The goal of this IPRO project is to develop beneficial uses for these brownfield sites. This IPRO focuses on using woody plants to aid in the bioremediation of these sites. The material created by these plants could then be used as wood and as a renewable energy source.
Approach: The IPRO project team will identify brownfields in the region and identify the critical pollutants at these sites. The team will then identify which plants and which other abatement strategies would lead to the eventual remediation at these sites. For example, coppicing is an ancient practice whereby quick growing trees are cut on a rotational basis and the wood is used for construction material and energy. The IPRO team will explore ways in which a coppicing strategy can be implemented on a large scale to bioremediate the sites and provide beneficial woody products.