This October, Soil-Concept hosted the partner meeting for the Interreg project ReNu2Farm. The project partners are from Ireland (University of Limerick, Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow), France (ARVALIS Institut du végétal), Belgium (Universiteit Gent and Inagro), the Netherlands (NMI) and Germany (Outotec and IZES). Read More
The ReNu2Farm project is designed to increase the recycling rates for the plant nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the primary food production chain in Northwest Europe (NWE). Up to now, farmers have essentially been using artificial fertilisers, for which the EU is heavily dependent on imports. Moreover, the production of artificial fertiliser requires large amounts of energy. Paradoxically, however, there are several regions with a nutrient surplus in NWE. There are also technologies for recovering those nutrients, but until now they have remained little-used by farmers.
The project strives for an exchange of nutrients between the following countries: IE-UK, DE-NL and BE-FR. In each of these areas there are regions with nutrient shortages and surpluses. Nutrient-surplus regions in NWE include the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), Bretagne (France) and Ireland. The regions that have great potential to replace artificial fertilisers, due to their high use thereof, are located in Northern France, Wallonia (Belgium), the East of England and Ireland.
First of all, the researchers are investigating the precise current situation on nutrients and technologies in the field of nutrient recovery in NWE. They will then deploy these technologies in practice, for both the production and upcycling of products from recycled nutrients. The largest waste streams for producing these products are sewage sludge, food wastes and manure.
The scientists are considering possible market barriers. They will then adapt the products so that they more closely match the needs of users.
On the basis of desk studies and info sessions with farmers comes an assessment of the regional demand for nutrients and performances of the products. In order to determine the potential for replacement by recycled nutrients, the researchers are collecting information on current fertiliser use and the types of agriculture and crop rotations for each region. From the perspective of the legislation it is also important to know the impacts of the products on the soil and the environment.
Where there are markets for recycled nutrients, what their pricing looks like and what the attitude of farmers and the policy is with respect to them are still open questions right now. The researchers are assessing the economic market value of the products on the basis of production costs and interest amongst the stakeholders. They are identifying legal pressure points regarding conditions and requirements on fertilisation management and transport.
The collected knowledge and techniques are being fed back to the stakeholders via articles, workshops and demonstrations. This will help overcome the knowledge gap amongst farmers. By spreading information and success stories, but also by further expanding to other sectors and regions, farmers will become better able to apply larger amounts of recycled nutrients over the long term.
The long-term goal is for farmers in the involved regions to replace 2% (-108,000 tonnes N, -8,000 tonnes P, -120,000 tonnes K) of the artificial fertiliser with recycled nutrients within five years, and 6% (-324,000 tonnes N, -24,000 tonnes P, -360,000 tonnes K) after ten years.
View the benefits of our hightech field trial fertilizing machine for complex fertilization trialsReNu2Farm invests in a hightech field trial fertilizing machine for complex fertilization trials
University of Limerick
1 Plassey Park Road
Cork Institute of Technology
1 Rossa Avenue
ARVALIS Institut du végétal
3 rue Joseph et Marie HACKIN
Soil Concept S.A.
Outotec GmbH & Co. KG
Nutriënten Management Instituut BV
7c Nieuwe Kanaal
653 Campus Coupure, B6, Coupure Links
Institute of Technology Carlow
1 Kilkenny Road
17 Altenkesseler Str. , Building A1
17 Altenkesseler Str. , Building A1
|University of Limerick||Achim Schmalenbergeremail@example.com||Ireland|
|Cork Institute of Technology||Niamh Powerfirstname.lastname@example.org||Ireland|
|ARVALIS Institut du végétal||Alain BOUTHIERemail@example.com||France|
|Soil Concept S.A.||Marc Demoullingfirstname.lastname@example.org||Luxembourg|
|Outotec GmbH & Co. KG||Tanja Schaafemail@example.com||Germany|
|Nutriënten Management Instituut BV||Imke Harmsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Netherlands|
|Universiteit Gent||Ivona Sigurnjakemail@example.com||Belgium|
|Institute of Technology Carlow||Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte||Thomae.Kakouli@itcarlow.ie||Ireland|
A cross-national certification scheme is not implemented yet. But newly the European Commission has introduced the CE certification scheme for organic and recycled-derived fertilizing products. Besides a certification scheme, it is important to create a broad social awareness that is lead by a strong political will. Read More
One strand of our project focuses on comparing the availability of nutrients like phosphorus in the soil for several recycling-derived fertilisers (RDFs). The phosphorus of the organic RDFs can be of mineral or organic forms. In most cases the mineral form is predominant. The chemical form depends on the origin of the product (animal species and way of feeding them…), as well as possible treatments applied (composting, liming, heat treatments…). The origin and the treatments before spreading can influence the short-term availability of phosphorus. On the field, RDFs provided by several suppliers are tested in France by Arvalis to assess the short, mid and long term availability of phosphorus in the soil. Read More
Visit Soil Concept together with us! Read More
One of the project tasks is to deliver an inventory report that represents an actualization on the progress of market-ready techniques, building on previous benchmark reports published under projects like ARBOR and BIOREFINE. Read it here. Read More
As part of WP T2, D2.2, plant pot trials were conducted under controlled conditions to determine fertilizer performance at a level of plant availability, and to determine the nutrient use efficiency of the recycling-derived fertilizers. Read More
The Interreg NWE ReNu2Farm project aims at increasing the recycling rates of plant nutrients Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). P and K are limited and finite resources, and production of N fertilisers is energy intensive. Despite a number of recovery technologies been at a mature stage, the use of recycling-derived fertiliser (RDF) products by farmers has been limited to date. The aim of ReNu2Farm is to put the farming community at the heart of the research, therefore stakeholder engagement is essential to the success of this project. The ReNu2Farm team reached out to the largest stakeholder i.e. the farmers to identify the requirements of farmers to encourage them to use recycling-derived fertilisers. Over 1,200 farmers from seven different countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, The Netherlands and the UK), were surveyed as part of the ReNu2Farm project. Read More
In the search for a sustainable alternative for mineral fertilizers, researchers of ReNu2Farm are testing the functioning of several new recycling-derived fertilizers. A field trial fertilizing machine especially designed for this purpose allows to perform complex fertilization trials in Belgium. This high-tech machine combines multiple standard fertilization techniques in one device. Read More
Environ is the largest environmental conference occurring annually in Ireland and is a collaboration between the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland and a third level education organisation that undertakes its hosting. This year’s Environ was hosted by a ReNu2Farm partner, the Institute of Technology Carlow, between 15th and 17th of April, to occur in tandem with the ReNu2Farm project partner and progress meeting. Read More
Opinion: European agriculture is highly dependent on phosphate for fertilisation, but with supplies running out, we have to change our attitude towards waste and treat it as a valuable resource. Read More