The project ‘AquaMak’ investigates how aquatic macrophytes can be utilized in an ecologically and economically feasible way.
Many rivers and lakes in Germany are affected by the excessive growth of aquatic macrophytes such as Elodea ssp. High nitrogen intake and wide open spaces with high sunlight exposure provide circumstances for extreme growth of these aquatic plants. Many of them are not originally domestic (so-called neophytes) and cannot be regulated well within the local ecosystem.
This not only leads to ecological problems, but also to a major impairment of sports and recreational activities. Local stakeholders such as lake owners and municipalities take on immense financial efforts to solve this problem. So far, the only way to remove the macrophytes is to mechanically clear the waters and to discard the resulting biomass into a landfill.
However, these water plants produce a lot of biomass, which contains a number of exploitable ingredients. Rather than to dispose of them, it might be possible to use them in an ecologically and economically feasible way, for example as a substrate for biogas plants.
Therefore, the objectives of this project are:
1. To identify the economic potential of water plant utilization (amounts, ingredients, ways of use, integration into existing supply chains)
2. An estimation of the ecological impact of the use of water plants
3. To investigate the acceptance of the utilization of water plants in different ways
The project is carried out as a joint task by the Institute for International Research on Sustainable Management and Renewable Energy (ISR) and the Institute for Landscape Studies and the Environment (ILU) at NGU. Prof. Dr. Willfried Nobel and Prof. Dr. Carsten Herbes, ecology experts Dr. Markus Röhl and Vasco Brummer are part of the research team.
Center for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig
German Biomass Research Center (DBFZ), Leipzig
Q4/2014 – August/2016
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture by means of the Sondervermögen „Energie- und Klimafonds (EKF)“