Province of Gelderland financially supports local start-up for treating Japanese knotweed
NEEDE/ARNHEM/ULFT – The province of Gelderland is investing 4 million euros in smart solutions. The Gelderland province funds will be disbursed in the form of research and development subsidies. Among the recipients is a company from the Achterhoek region that, together with a partner from Twente, is using innovative methods to treat the Japanese knotweed.
The Japanese knotweed is rampant along various roads, such as the N315/Hekweg between Neede and Borculo, and the N825/Nettelhorsterweg between Borculo and Lochem. Originally introduced as an ornamental plant, it is now considered a notorious harmful invasive species without natural predators. Its roots can damage roads and foundations. It spreads easily and thrives in our increasingly warmer climate.
Support from WUR-expert
Mowing is ineffective, and pulling the plant out has limited success as the root system continues to grow. André Evers from Technisch Innovatie Bureau Achterhoek (Tibach) in Ulft has developed a different method to treat the Japanese knotweed: by freezing it. Some experiments with the root system of the Japanese knotweed in his home freezer led to a promising method that should eradicate the plant. “For that, I contacted Chris van Dijk, an invasive species expert from WUR,” says Evers.
„Together with cold technology company Lassche & Keizer, we have developed a mobile ground freezer that freezes the root system of the Japanese knotweed up to a depth of one meter at temperatures of -10 to -15 degrees Celsius. This method has no impact on other soil organisms, such as micro organisms.”
20 projects supported
Christianne van der Wal, the provincial executive of Gelderland who will become the new Minister of Nature and Nitrogen, praises Evers’ solution as a project that contributes to societal challenges. The province supports twenty of these projects, with funding ranging from €63,000 to €350,000. The number of supported ideas is more than half of the total number of 39 applications received. An external advisory committee from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) provided advice to Gelderland on the quality and potential of the candidate projects. This included assessing the degree of innovation compared to existing technology and evaluating the potential for collaboration between companies.
With the subsidy from the province of Gelderland, Tibach in Ulft, and Lassche & Keizer in Oldenzaal are developing a prototype ground freezer. The device is intended to be user-friendly, allowing non-specialists to treat the plant as part of roadside management. If all goes well, the days and years of uncontrolled spreading by the Japanese knotweed will be over.
(This message was translated from Dutch)