Several buildings on Wageningen Campus are surrounded by beds of coarse gravel to restrict the growth of algae. However, plants can grow almost anywhere and combating them with poison is not a desirable option. Weeding and manually removing the weeds is hard work and takes a lot of time, while working with flame-throwers is not environmentally friendly and dangerous to boot.
We are currently running an experiment that uses a combination of water and coconut milk to steam-clean the unwanted green.
Steaming with water is an environmentally friendly option that has been tried for some time already. The coconut milk has the added advantage of creating bubbles which create an insulating effect.
This keeps the temperature under the coconut milk hotter for longer and is more effective at killing the plants and surface roots. This should ensure that the removal of plants does not have to be done as often and saves money too.
Coconut milk is a natural product that can be broken down by the environment. However, it does add nutrients to the steamed soil, and the effects of this are yet to be measured. In Germany this concept has been used for several years and this summer a test was performed on campus that yielded positive results.