Friday, January 27, 2006

Congrats to me!

I mentioned earlier that I have been busy with a synopsis, looking at the phytoextraction of heavy metals from Danish soils. The oral presentation was yesterday.

I made a pig's ear of it as I did the old mistake of poor timing, so I got into time trouble and had to rush at the end. There were a few questions I couldn't answer in the questions' session too. Still, I am happy as I passed, receiving the Danish equivalent of a Grade C.

A few factoids from my work:

- generally, heavy metals aren'¨t a serious problem in Denmark, the exceptions being city areas and around metal works;

- the metals, in terrestrial environments, that receive most attention are: lead (from the petrol of the past; lead, like others, binds tightly to soil particles), cadmium (it's in fertiliser), copper and zinc (added to pig feed for growth and then spread on fields via fertiliser), mercury (from old treatments of corn), and arsenic (which is polluting drinking water)

- Denmark doesn't have the facilities to treat soils polluted with heavy metals, so the soils are excavated and disposed of in landfills

- phytoextraction is very new here, however willow has been tested and received favourable reviews; it can also be used as a bio-fuel, which has the added bonus that this fuel is carbon dioxide neutral (i.e. there is no net emission of CO2 because the trees absorb the atmospheric CO2 which is then released again upon combustion)

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