September 10, 2021
Englobe is pleased to support the research and development project on the mycoremediation of railroad ties presented by the two Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) of the Côte-Nord region of Québec – Côte-Nord and Manicouagan.
The use of fungi for local management of contaminated wood
This project, funded by the Société du Plan Nord, will be conducted by the technology transfer collegial studies centre, Biopterre. Biopterre develops innovative bioproducts and has expertise in applied research in mycotechnology, particularly in biotransformation and biodegradation of residual materials using processes involving fungi and/or microbial enzymes. (Source: Biopterre)
“The research project is based on a protocol developed by Biopterre and relies on the use of fungi, i.e. mycotechnology. Our Pointe-Noire Soil Treatment Centre in Sept-Îles could exploit the technology developed, in addition to being part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable development,” explains Natacha Sénéchal, Regional Director, Englobe, “Englobe is proud to support the CFDCs and Biopterre in achieving their objectives and to contribute its expertise to creating a greener economy.”
Collaboration for a greener economy
“This research project aims to find more sustainable solutions for managing railroad ties when they reach the end of their useful life,” adds Nicolas Moreau, Director, Operational Performance, Englobe, “If the results of the study are conclusive, the removal of contaminants found in the sleepers could enable them to be recycled locally.”
Thanks to its strong presence in the region and its Pointe-Noire Centre whose mission is to decontaminate soils in order to safely recycle them, Englobe will contribute to the efforts made in recycling these decontaminated materials.
What is mycoremediation and mycotechnology?
The predominant contaminant in railroad ties is creosote, or mixtures of creosote (50%) and petroleum oil or tar, among others. Some studies have shown that mycotechnology or various pre-treatments use the natural action of fungi and enzymes to greatly improve creosote decontamination rates.
Why are railroad tracks contaminated?
Before their installation, railroad ties are heavily treated to extend their useful life. At the end of the cycle, they represent a significant toxic waste. The Côte-Nord region has approximately 1,300 km of railroad tracks on which 53,000 wooden ties are changed each year. This represents approximately 5,194 metric tons annually.
Conventional Canadian methods of managing end-of-life wood waste are landfill and incineration. Currently, Côte-Nord ties are transported outside the region for controlled incineration.