Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

NewFert Report Summary

Project ID: 668128
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NewFert (Nutrient recovery from biobased Waste for Fertilizer production)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Society faces a discouraging future in terms of water, food and resource scarcity, together with increasing waste generation which will get worse with a continued increase in population in future years. Biowaste, understood as biostreams and waste from different biobased sources as defined by Biobased Industries Consortium, could account for around 20% of the waste produced at EU . Biowaste constitutes a significant challenge being under-utilised as potential resource of valuable chemical compounds. Turning waste into resources is key to a circular economy. In particular, biowaste valorisation is an attractive approach which can offer potentially useful alternatives for dealing with residues.
The international community is faced with a nutrient management challenge, is to say, how to reduce the amount of excess nutrients in the global environment, which leads to severe pollution of air, water, land and sea. There is a need of contribution to maximize nutrient management for global sustainable development. From this perspective, the previously mentioned advanced valorisation strategies, enabling the recovery of valuable chemical compounds from biowaste, is the main subject in response to the transition to a sustainable and eco-friendly nutrient management. In this way the main objective of the project is to build up a breakthrough concept of Fertiliser Industry, strengthening European competitiveness and boosting the biobased economy potential in Europe, through the development of a new value chain based on nutrient recovery bioprocesses from waste streams for manufacturing biobased NPK fertilizers.
NEWFERT project involves the design and development of different enabling technologies to allow the re-use and valorisation from biowaste making them suitable as secondary raw material in the fertilizer industry.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

An intensively search of the European industry landscape -municipal and agricultural waste management- to identify promising sources of biobased residues. The result was a total of 23 different samples of residues that have been chemically and physically analyzed and characterized. Acceptability criteria for possible biobased residues have been defined, in order to identify possible new feedstocks for the fertilizer production. A full list of beneficiation and pre-treatment steps has been filed.
Great part of the work was dedicated to the study of nutrient recovery from solid waste providing materials potentially suitable for application and feed material for fertilizer production. It identifies and categorizes available technologies and shows potential implementation in fertilizer production and upgrade. Its main purpose is to identify feasible bio-solid waste (like waste incineration ashes) in order to extract phosphorous/nitrogen/potassium eligible for NPK fertilizer use, select the optimum chemical extraction process and design the industrial process for chemical nutrients extraction process suitable to be use in existing NPK fertilizer plant.
Another line of nutrients recovery research was work on the design and development of a new process to recover nutrients from liquid biowaste through crystallization and/or biolectochemical systems. First results were obtained at laboratory scale and pilot plants are begin to use.
On the other hand, the review of the current LCA stock data for baseline in fertilizer production has begun.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Products suitable for processing to commercial fertilizers by industrial companies have been identified making sure that the project can have a relevant industrial impact.
Conventional solubilization processes are being modified and optimized in order to obtain the maximum extraction capacity as well as the appropriate product for the industry. Novel technologies related to P and N recovery from pig slurry are being developed and optimized. These processes will contribute to the technological development within the project due to the high novelty of both extraction methods.
New technologies, products and value-chains will have socio-economic impact. Europe’s intended transformation towards a sustainable circular economy will strongly rely on sustainable value chains. The project will contribute in form of sustainable and resource efficient production schemes and better fertilizer products compared to traditional ones. It is suspected to sustain productive jobs in Europe instead of losing them to other continents. Improved fertilizer products and fertilizing procedures will provide benefits for both, human health and environment. Al long, as these two aspects are not included in measurable scales, which will be a political tasks, quantification will be difficult.
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