LIFE Project Cover Photo

Demonstrative project on the use of Nicotiana glauca as an energetic crop in the fight against climate change

Reference: LIFE10 ENV/ES/000458 | Acronym: ECOGLAUCA éRGON



Soil erosion is an increasing problem. In Europe, nearly 115 million ha are affected by water erosion and 42 million ha are subject to wind erosion. The problem is particular acute in the Mediterranean region because of its fragile environmental conditions. However, soil erosion is an issue in most European countries. Nicotiana glauca is a wild tobacco plant species that stores sugars in its stems. This natural characteristic makes it an interesting crop for bio-ethanol production, and for the generation of other biomass for combustion and pyrolysis (a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen). The species also produces several potentially interesting natural compounds, such as anabasine, which was traditionally used as an insecticide. The plant lives in arid environments, generally near the sea, and has been naturalised in almost the whole Mediterranean area. It is capable of growing in an irrigation regime lower than 200 mm/yr, in abandoned and eroded lands not suitable for traditional crops. It is possible, therefore, to extend this crop to areas that are currently not in use and consequently exposed to soil erosion.


The ECOGLAUCA ÉRGON project aims to examine, demonstrate and evaluate the benefits of cultivating Nicotiana glauca on land that is currently abandoned. The project will seek to generate biomass and other commercial products, and demonstrate the plant’s contribution to fighting soil erosion and climate change. The project will develop a set of actions to evaluate, at pilot scale, the suitability of the plant as a means to:

  • Combat soil erosion and desertification in abandoned and uncultivated areas;
  • Promote rural development by providing a commercial crop for arid land - less than 200 mm/yr of water - and requiring little maintenance; and
  • Provide biomass for bio-ethanol production, with no impact on land traditionally used to grow crops for food.

The project will determine the best crop conditions and the best use of the plant in areas exposed to erosion. It will also examine the possibilities of extracting and exploiting compounds produced by the plant - such as the alkaloid anabasine - at pre-industrial scale, without interfering in the energy value of the biomass.

Expected results:

  • The exploitation of Nicotiana glauca as an energy crop, thus helping to tackle climate change;
  • The development of additional by-products of the plant; and
  • The re-cultivation of abandoned land, thereby tackling soil erosion.


The project did not achieve its objectives and was declared terminated on 11 April 2017.The project did not achieve its objectives and was declared terminated on 11 April 2017.


Reference: LIFE10 ENV/ES/000458
Start Date: 01/09/2011
End Date: 31/12/2017
Total Budget: 1,375,552 €
EU Contribution: 634,624 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Ayuntamiento de Enguera
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Doctor Albiñana, 1, 46810, Enguera, España
Contact Person: Fernando Pradells Monzó
Tel: +34 656 23 80 68

LIFE Project Map



  • Soil and landscape protection


  • rural area
  • soil erosion
  • biomass energy


Name Type
Ayuntamiento de Enguera Coordinator
Ayuntamiento de Fontanars dels Alforins, Spain Participant
ABBA Gaia, S.L., Spain Participant
AZAHAR Energy, Spain Participant
Fundación Comunidad Valenciana Región Europea Participant