Industrial crops are valuable resources for high added value food products, as well as renewable by-products such as bioenergy.
The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) thereby introduces the Marginal Lands for Growing Industrial Crops (MAGIC) Project, which aims to promote sustainable development in efficient and profitable industrial crops grown on marginal lands.
To achieve that an up-to-date database of existing resource-efficient industrial crops will be developed with information on their agronomic characteristics, input requirements, yield performance and quality traits for end-use applications.
CRES is the Greek organisation for Renewable Energy Sources (RES), Rational Use of Energy (RUE) and Energy Saving (ES) and has been appointed as the national co-ordination centre in its area of activity.
Founded in September 1987 by Presidential Decree, it is a public entity supervised by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and has financial and administrative independence.
Its main goal is the research and promotion of RES/RUE/ES applications at a national and international level, as well as the support of related activities, taking into consideration the principles of sustainable development.
Disused land for industrial crops
Several studies agree on the existence of approximately 1,350,000 hectares of land in Europe deemed less favourable for conventional agriculture. This land has been either abandoned because of its productivity, or it is used as grassland.
Current and future marginal lands in Europe facing natural constraints will be mapped, characterised and analysed in the development of best-practice options for industrial crops – the most promising of which will be identified, taking advantage of the profound experience of the consortium and in a multi-actor approach with stakeholders.
It has been estimated that as many as 2.5 million potentially contaminated sites exist across Europe, with management costs (81% only for remediation) of around €6.5bn per year.1 In the MAGIC project, contaminated and degraded soils will also be included as it is well documented that the proportion of these land types is increasing due to anthropogenic activities. Contaminated soils cannot be used for food or feed production for sanitary reasons, and thus provide great potential for the production of industrial crops and biomass for material or energy use.2
- Allen B, Kretschmer B, Baldock D, Menadue H, Nanni S and Tucker G. (2014) Space for energy crops – assessing the potential contribution to Europe’s energy future. Report produced for BirdLife Europe, European Environmental Bureau and Transport & Environment. IEEP, London
- Lewandowski I, Schmidt U, Londo M, Faaij (2006) The economic value of the phytoremediation function. Agricultural Systems, 89, 68-89