Project Summary

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 mineral fertilisers, for which the EU is heavily dependent on imports. Moreover, the production of mineral 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 mineral 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 trials

ReNu2Farm invests in a hightech field trial fertilizing machine for complex fertilization trials

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
IZES gGmbH 17 Altenkesseler Str. , Building A1
Name Contact Name Email Country
University of Limerick Achim Schmalenberger Ireland
Munster Technological University Niamh Power Ireland
ARVALIS Institut du végétal Hélène Lagrange France
Soil Concept S.A. Marc Demoulling Luxembourg
Outotec GmbH & Co. KG Tanja Schaaf Germany
Nutriënten Management Instituut BV Romke Postma Netherlands
Universiteit Gent Ivona Sigurnjak Belgium
Inagro Inès Verleden Belgium
Institute of Technology Carlow Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte Ireland


ReNu2Farm in Environ 2021 – Healthy Planet Healthy Communities

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Environ is the largest and longest running environmental science conference and forum for environmental researchers in Ireland, with almost 300 delegates attending the event annually. Environ happens in collaboration with a different higher education organisation every year and the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland. This year's conference, the 31st Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium (Environ 2021), was hosted on line by the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork, from16th to 18th June. This annual event provides a high-visibility platform for young and experienced researchers to present their findings to an audience drawn from academia, government bodies and agencies, as well as industry. Read More

Three-year field experience with compost in the Netherlands

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The ReNu2Farm project partner Nutrient Management Institute from the Netherlands performed a three years field trial with biowaste compost as a recycling-derived fertiliser. The compost was compared with other organic fertilisers such as cattle slurry as well as with mineral fertiliser in a maize crop on sandy soil. The objective of the trial was to investigate to what extent the functioning of the top soil layer of leachable sandy soil can be improved by increasing the organic matter content and the related soil functions, without leading to an increase in nitrate leaching. Read More

“On June 15, 16 and 17, the Culturales® were held in Betheny (51), France.

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Organized every two years by ARVALIS, this open-field event is aimed at arable crop farmers looking for innovations for the performance of their farm. Extending over 20ha, the event consists of a technical part where 45 technical workshops made it possible for Arvalis experts to present their latest projects and answer visitors' questions; and of an exhibitor section where more than 300 exhibitors could present their latest innovations. This year, around 10 000 visitors came at the Culturales®. What better opportunity to talk about fertilization and recycling-derived fertilisers? Hélène Lagrange, an Arvalis fertilization expert, was there to answer questions on the ReNu2Farm project as well as on good practices for using these fertilizers, their performance and their carbon footprint.” Read More

Connecting producers with their market

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On the 3rd of June, the University of Ghent together with Inagro organised a workshop for SMEs and producers. During this workshop, some of the most important results of the farmer survey, performed in 2019 on what farmers want from their fertilisers, was shared with the producers. This can help them cater their products, recycling-derived fertilisers (RDFs) better for their target market, which are mostly farmers. Read More

Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2021

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Research of the ReNu2Farm project was presented at the Annual Conference of the Microbiology Society, running from the 26th to the 30th April. The conference is one of the largest gatherings of microbiologists in Europe with usually over 1,600 attendees, presenters, speakers, researchers, and industrial partners. The conference was hosted online, and comprised many different topics such as antimicrobial resistance, environmental and applied microbiology, genetics and genomics, marine microbiology, public health microbiology, RNA & DNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

French producers of RDF's share their experience

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In the process of reducing the use of limited natural resources, such as phosphorus of mineral origin, recycling-derived fertilisers (RDF) are an interesting alternative to artificial fertilisers. In the below video, Laurent Varvoux, co-leader of the Nitrogen and Sulphur group at COMIFER, and 3 French producers shed light on what RDF are and the opportunities they can offer in terms of fertilisation and sustainability. Read More


26/09/2019 - Demand for recycled nutrients in every region: tailor made recycling-derived fertilisers have the highest impact

27/04/2021 - Recycling Derived Fertilisers: what are they?

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