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 presented to the French national fertiliser network

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Agriculture plays a major role in phosphorus flows in France. To use limited resources in the most efficient way, and to avoid environmental risks, stakeholders (farmers, researchers, and suppliers) created in 1980 an independent association in France, the French Committee for the Study and Development of Rational Fertilisation (COMIFER), to share reflections, references, and methods. Three boards compose the COMIFER: public institutions, agricultural organisations and economic structures. The COMIFER with GEMAS (French committee on soil analysis) organised mid-November the biennial of “Soil and plants analysis and fertilisation management” in Dijon (France). Read More

NWE making an impact!

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The Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) programme has launched the first impact event on 4 and 5 December 2019, which took place in Tourcoing (Lille agglomeration, Hauts-de-France) at La Chaufferie. An opening plenary session opened the discussion on the programme’s result orientation and the need to maximise the impact of projects throughout the NWE territory, and beyond in Europe. Read More

4th edition of ManuREsource

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The fourth edition of the International Conference on manure management and valorization (ManuREsource) has taken place on 27th and 28th November 2019. Around 200 participants gathered in Hasselt (Belgium) to demonstrate the importance of animal manure valorization in circular economy and to discuss the obstacles that are currently surrounding this transition. The ReNu2Farm project actively participated in several sessions: a poster session, a parallel presentation session and round tables. Read More

Experiments on thermal treatment of sewage sludge / green cuttings at Outotec

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In 2011, Outotec has acquired and further developed the AshDec® process to produce a phosphate fertilizer from sewage sludge ash by thermochemical treatment. The purpose is to remove heavy metals from the feed material and to convert the insoluble phosphate species created in the incineration step to highly plant available calcium-sodium/potassium phosphates. In the process, sewage sludge ash is mixed with sodium/ potassium additives and dried sewage sludge as reducing agent and heated up to about 900 °C in a rotary kiln. Heavy metals are vaporized under reducing conditions to the gas phase and are condensed in the filter system to be disposed with the filter dust. Read More

Meeting in Luxembourg

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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

Phosphorus availability in soil, stepping stone to standardise recycling-derived fertilisers

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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

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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