POREM monitoring report (2020/06/23 –April-May-June)

The work carried out for each POREM Action, in progress, was:

  1. Implementation actions

Action B.1: Pilot production of poultry manure based (POREM) bioactivator for soil bioremediation at pilot scale

POREM bioactivator production in Italy was almost completed in Calabria with a 6 ton pile by Soldano. Organization of pilot scale production in Apulia (It), in CZ Republic and Murcia (Spain) has been carried out in these months, with support activities of all the project beneficiaries. VAPs (in new formulation) was designed and supplied by Amek for Apulia and CZ trials, in order to assure a 90 days maturing time for 3 piles of 3 tons each of initial poultry manure. Further VAPs supply for Spanish trials is foreseen in next month.

For Apulia test, it was chosen to start POREM bioactivator production at pilot scale even if it is not possible to carry out gas monitoring systems installation (Covid-19 actual restrictions). The POREM preparation for second year application was considered basic for project development. It is planned to perform another cycle in Apulia of POREM production associated with gas monitoring systems as soon as possible, taking into account the post-COVID-19 constrains.

Virtual technical/organizational meetings among ASTRA, ENEA and CEBAS were organized on April 28th May and June 26th, in order to define the best organization for POREM bioactivator production and monitoring.

Action B.2: Degraded soil bioremediation in Spain, Italy and Czech with POREM bioactivator

- Italy: ASTRA

Italy, Emilia-Romagna Region:

  • The new test to be carried out for the Cycle II in Emilia-Romagna Region is foreseen from mid July 2020 to end October 2020: the new crop scheduled is the head cabbage and the test will be executed on the same land and plot layout of the previous tomato test. The POREM was produced by SOLDANO and kept at its facility for the entire period of maturation process, starting in February 2020 (t=0 dd) to June 2020 (t=120 dd). The POREM will be sent to the Emilia-Romagna farm within mid July 2020. The application of POREM and Reference Standard Fertilizer will be executed just after the POREM arrival according to weather condition. The initial soil samples (two samples per treatment) will be executed in July prior to application and sent to CEBAS-CSIC for the analysis characterization during the first week of October. The first assessment is scheduled at about 15 days after crop planting, then the first intermediate assessment at about one month after planting; last assessment, harvest and samplings are scheduled within October 2020.

Italy, Apulia (Puglia) Region:

  • The Barley test (Cycle I) was finalized within mid-June 2020. The field assessments (intermediate and final), the final samplings (soil and plant production) and the harvest tasks were performed as scheduled: two samples of soil per each treatment (one from the ‘upper’ land plot, bulk of the 3 replicates A-B-C; one from ‘lower’ plot land, bulk of 3 replicates D-E-F); one sample of grain and one sample of straw carried out separately per each of the 6 replicates per treatment. The ASTRA personnel carried out the experimental harvest, grain and straw samplings, per each of the 6 replicates per treatment. In order to get an additional data on commercial grain production, the farmer executed the harvest separately per each treatment using the local harvester. Grain and Straw samples were sent to CEBAS - CSIC for characterization analysis. The final soil samples (two samples per treatment) will be sent to CEBAS - CSIC for the analysis characterization during July 2020.
  • The new test to be carried out for the Cycle II in Apulia Region is foreseen from mid-October/November 2020 to June 2021: the POREM will be produced and kept at the farm warehouse for the entire period of process to application. The POREM production is planned starting from July (t=0 dd) to mid-October/November 2020 (t=120 dd). The new crop scheduled is the horse bean and the test will be executed on the same land and plot layout of the previous barley test.

Action B.4:Training courses, workshops and guidelines for project replicability and transferability

On the basis of the COVID-19 problems we have redefined the training courses and workshops with the new following schedule:

  • POREM workshops
    • Italy:
      • ASTRA in May 2021
      • Soldano in June 2021
    • Spain: Micronadir: June 2021
    • Czach Republic: EPS in May 2021
  • POREM training courses
    • Italy:
      • ASTRA in June 2021
      • Soldano in June 2021
    • Spain: Micronadir: June 2021
    • Czach Republic: EPS in June 2021

Action B.5: POREM Business Plan

Continuous update of the market analysis

  1. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

Action C.1: Monitoring the low cost technologies used in soil restoration

CSIC continued the chemical and biological characterization of all the POREM samples of cycle 1. ENEA has carried out a more detailed analysis on the characterization results of POREM samples, produced by Italy (Apulia and Calabria) and Spain. Based on this analysis, CSIC and ENEA have organized the characterization related to the second campaign of POREM production (e.g. SEM, TGA, XRD analysis, gas monitoring). Due to the pandemic measures and the consequent limitation of mobility, ENEA had to introduce the variations in characterization campaign linked to the gas monitoring. The POREM heaps prepared in July will not be subject to gas monitoring; while, probably in February 2021, the gas monitoring will be carried out by ENEA on three other heaps in Apulia, as actually planned. The POREM obtained in these heaps prepared in 2021, will be used in the test fields to demonstrate the POREM efficacy, after the end of the project too.

CSIC has carried out all the analyses related to the pile of chicken manure with VAP, which MICRONADIR kept active until January 10, 2020 (180 days). MICRONADIR moved and mixed the organic material, and took three samples, each consisting of 10 subsamples. These samples were homogenized by CSIC, and analysed in the same way as all the previous organic samples. All the analyses showed that the POREM process can be carried out during a period of 90 days, since the changes established on it are not significant after 60-90 days.

Action C.2: Monitoring of degraded soils

Italy, Apulia (Puglia) Region: the field data from initial and intermediate assessments of barley tests have been analysed and presented remotely (via internet skype) to project partners during the Monitoring meeting of 26th of May 2020. The statistical variance among treatments was analysed with ANOVA and positive significative differences have been highlighted for some parameters. In June 2020, CSIC received the grain and straw samples from barley test in Biccari (Apulia Region – Italy) and started the relative characterization analysis. CSIC continued to characterize soil samples from Spain and Italy.

In the field plots controlled by MICRONADIR and sited in Santomera (Murcia, Spain) where organic amendment (POREM process) has been used as organic fertilizer for degraded soils, CSIC has carried out a new sampling in the total of 15 field plots (3 samples by each plot), on June 12 2020. It corresponds to the sampling of 6 months from the start of the field experiment. The elapsed time during the pandemic, where in Spain it has not been possible to carry out laboratory and field work, plots for POREM project in Spain has not adversely affected since no sampling was foreseen at that time. All the soil analysed 6 months after the start of the experiment, will demonstrate that the addition to the degraded soils of the POREM fertilizer will increase soil quality and fertility, and for this reason, it will verify the rehabilitation of the degraded soil.

Action C.3: Monitoring of socio-economic impact of the project and LCA

For the life cycle assessment of the technology, a first draft of data collection sheets has been set.

Action C.4: Performance indicators monitoring

Literature and experimental data collection is going on.

  1. Public awareness and dissemination of results

Action D.1: Project dissemination plan: web-site, material, articles, Layman’s report and video

Updating of the project website and increasing of visits.

Action D.2:Project dissemination plan: events, networking and contacts with Institutions and policy makers

No events participations due to COVID-19 problems.

  1. Project management

Action E1: Project management

On line project progress meeting held on 26/05/2020.

Monthly on line meeting between ASTRA, ENEA and CEBAS.

In light of the fact that Astra has assumed the role of coordinator of the LIFE POREM project, starting from January 01 2020, a resource has been added to the staff that implements the activities. The technician who joined is Dr. Marco Simoni, agronomist and manager of the oenology laboratories within the company. The choice fell on him as Dr. Simoni was the quality manager of the Astra Test Center and therefore has the knowledge to evaluate and support the quality of the activities, the method and the data obtained from the field tests.

PROBLEMS EMERGED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTIVITIES

The COVID-19 pandemic, which generally slowed down (and in some cases blocked) the work and business activities throughout Italy and Europe, has not prevented the execution of the actions foreseen in the project, given the type of work sector; although to date, some small variations in the initial planning occurred, due to the reduced mobility caused by COVID-19 Lock Down emergency phase and relative decisions taken to prevent or limit the contagion risks. This reduced mobility did not prevent the coordination meetings from being held, which, however, were carried out remotely (via internet meetings and calls). Direct visits to the field test sites were therefore lacking by project partners; on the contrary, all the field tasks were executed as scheduled by the local facilities that held directly the tests. The reduced mobility also forced the postponement of the project dissemination activities (training courses with producers and workshops with authorities) that were planned for the Spring 2020. In the forthcoming activities, it is necessary to introduce a variation from the project program related to the monitoring of gases in the heaps by ENEA. On the one hand, the agronomic planning requires that the POREM heaps in Apulia Region are set up in July 2020, to be used in October 2020, before sowing the horse bean; on the other hand, the impossibility of ENEA staff to move during the pandemic Lock Down up to the month of September 2020 makes it necessary to introduce a change in the plan of project activities. Given the above, during the coordination meetings, it was in fact decided that the heaps that will be prepared in July 2020 in Apulia Region will be not subject to gas monitoring; while, in the same site in Apulia, three additional heaps will be set up later in February 2021 and will be subject to gas monitoring by ENEA. For this reason, the Action C1.2, that is the POREM characterization, should also be extended. The POREM obtained from these new heaps prepared in 2021 will be used in the field tests, with the aim to carrying out monitoring even after the implementation period of the project (AFTER LIFE). The financial coverage necessary for this change can be found in the savings that will be made in travel and External Assistance expenses which, for the aforementioned reasons of reduced mobility (linked to the COVID-19 pandemic), will not be used in full.

COUNTERMEASURE PLAN TO ENSURE THE PROJECT'S PROGRESS (EVEN IN REDUCED MODE) SHOULD A SECOND COVID-19 PANDEMIC WAVE IN THE AUTUMN 2020

If a second COVID-19 pandemic wave will occur in the autumn 2020, the project activities at risk will mainly relate to dissemination (training courses with producers and workshops with authorities). The field tests that will start in July 2020 (head cabbage in Italy) will finish within October 2020, it means at the beginning of the new risk possible period; while, the 2020 autumn field tests (horse bean in Italy; barley in Czech Republic) will start before or in the same period, at the begging of the new possible risk phase. It is necessary to underline that in no one of the trial area there was a very important risk during the Pandemic period and anyway, all the risks were managed by procedures and Personal Protective Equipment.  If the emergency will continue beyond the 2020 spring period, the possibility of requesting a time extension to recover activities that cannot be carried out will be assessed