Leading stainless steelmaker Aperam together with Econick, a spin-off of France’s University of Lorraine that specializes in the phytoextraction sciences, have formed a new joint venture. Called Botanickel, the company seeks to become a world leader in the responsible and sustainable production of bio sourced nickel for the stainless steel industry. To accomplish this goal, the company is leveraging the incredible power of hyper accumulator plants. Using plants to extract nickel from soil and then turning that nickel into stainless steel may sound like science fiction, but that’s exactly what Botanickel is doing.Hyper accumulator plants are unique in that they can grow in specific metalliferous soils that are often inhospitable for cultivating traditional crops. These plants have developed the ability to safely accumulate extraordinarily high amounts of heavy metals in their aerial parts, including cobalt, cadmium, manganese, zinc, and of course nickel.With nickel being a key raw material in the production of stainless steel, Botanickel will leverage the Alyssum murale plant’s hyper accumulator capabilities to extract the metal from the soil. The native plants will be cropped in soils that are naturally rich in nickel and allowed to grow to full maturity. Once harvested, the plants are dried and their energy is recovered and used by local communities. Nickel is then concentrated and transferred to Recyco. Aperam's European recycling unit initially dedicated to recovering and treating the metallic content from melting shop dusts.Botanickel’s innovative, circular and bio sourced nickel production process is the outcome of decades of research happening at the University of Lorraine, which is globally renowned for its role in developing the field of phytoextraction.