Lorver is a chain of processes developed to improve the value of brownfields and abandoned resources through the production of biomass of industrial interest
This practice is an integrated approach to the rehabilitation, sustainable management and reuse of degraded lands. It is based on a chain of processes aimed at obtaining value from land and by-products (e.g. wastes) without any current interest. The chain was tested and developed thanks to funding from the Région Grand Est and European Union (ERDF) and from the expertise acquired over the years in the Région Grand Est on the administrative, technological and scientific aspects of brownfield management. It involves industrial partners, public institutions, and academic partners and is aimed at managing degraded sites to produce biomass of industrial interest (e.g. energy, fiber, recovery of metals), while improving the quality of the ecosystem. This good practice is based on a toolbox of soil and water treatment technologies (e.g. ex situ and in situ chemical oxidation or bioremediation, soil construction, and phytoremediation), which are assembled in a whole chain-value of processes aimed at securing the sites and providing the largest number of ecosystem services. New functional ecosystems are thus designed to provide a large range of ecosystem services linked to vegetated areas (e.g. biomass production, biodiversity, C storage, mitigation of residual pollution). Overall, the strategy contributes to the protection of environmental bodies and human health, and the provision of services to meet the major global challenges (e.g. biodiversity).
The LORVER strategy was tested at field scale during a five-year R&D project (5 M€), involving industrial and academic partners and the administration. It was proved feasible and profitable and its implementation requires available materials for soil construction (e.g. by-products).
Evidence of success
This strategy is now being implemented in several areas in France, with a strong focus on site reclamation, and development of ecosystem services. Site owners are now considering this approach as a relevant way for large sites, which are not under the city and industrial development pressure. With regard to ecosystem services, e.g. biodiversity, the LORVER strategy helps to improve the situation by taking advantage of available territories.
The whole chain was proved technically and economically feasible with significant improvement of the environment. The main challenges are connected to the regulations which need to be adjusted allowing the reuse of by-products in soil construction.
Potential for learning or transfer
A guide is under writing to disseminate the strategy for implementation at large scale. The practice can be implemented for commercial purposes. It can be quite easily transferred provided appropriate partners are selected and all steps of the chain are carefully considered. As it is aimed at improving a series of ecosystem services, considering only biomass production would not be sufficient. Important services such as biodiversity should be put at the first place. Also, technologies should be optimized and adapted to the various situations that can be met. It is necessary to ensure the best assemblages, i.e. the technologies which are compatible with each other for the best efficacy of the chain. The practice received positive feedback from the political actors, the private sector and the site managers. However, since the solution introduces new ways to manage polluted sites, regulations are not always adapted to this solution which promotes natural attenuation.
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