Project R-6343


Optimalisation of the Ecotron Hasselt University (Research)


A large body of research is now focusing on the understanding of mechanisms regulating ecosystem functioning, predictions on their activity in the long-term, and the management practices to keep them running. For this purpose, Hasselt University decided to invest in the construction of a high technological research infrastructure: the "Ecotron Hasselt University", where twelve large ecosystem replicates can be continuously monitored and controlled. The research performed there will focus on understanding the response of heathland ecosystem services to global change, in one hand; and on the valorization of biomass as biochar, including waste from heathland management, on the other hand. The current Hercules call gives us the opportunity to optimize the Ecotron facility by 1) Upgrading the current sprinkler system to better simulate a large range of precipitation types; 2) Increasing the number of sensors to improve the resolution and control the soil lysimeters, that are the largest ever built; 3) Installing a thirteenth unit to perform short-term experiments on biomass valorization; and 4) Buying a pyrolysis equipment to generate biochar.

Period of project

07 July 2015 - 06 July 2020