Skip to main content

Improved Nutrient and Energy Management through Anaerobic Digestion

Final Report Summary - INEMAD (Improved Nutrient and Energy Management through Anaerobic Digestion)

Executive Summary:
INEMAD is a 4-year FP7 project which started on the 1st of April 2012. Partners involved come from 8 different European countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, France and Bulgaria). The leading principle of INEMAD is that processing can help to restore the nutrient cycle and decrease the energy use. Processing refers to the new upcoming sector of the bio-based economy that uses primary products to produce renewable energy and green fertilizers amongst others. One of the applications of this principle is anaerobic digestion of manure and the use of digestate as fertilizer.
There is a clear difference in the livestock density among regions in the participating countries. The main results of the INEMAD project acknowledge the importance of this regional nutrient and policy context. Western European partners have a need for more fundamental and applied research. Researchers did more hypothetical simulation of policy instruments and applied research was carried on more innovative types of technology. Central European partners researched more the effect and possibilities for nutrient management techniques based on manure or organic biological waste products. There was definitely a knowledge transfer of the already established technologies in nutrient rich regions to the partner countries not facing this nutrient excess problem.
Also the policy context was evaluated in the different countries. Simulations were done on policy instruments to stimulate farms to respect N concentration in the leaching water, support policies for the biogas sector such as feed-in premia and investment support and simulation on relaxing some manure transport regulations. The simulations indicate that policy makers should properly overthink these policy instruments. Instruments should be selected depending on the policy objective taken into account possible conflicts with other policy objectives, the targets to be reached taken into account the (un)wanted impact these instruments can have on other ecological and economic indicators. The simulations reported in different INEMAD deliverables can certainly help policy makers with additional insights to make better choices.
Different nutrient management and processing strategies were analysed in depth. Some innovative strategies were explored such as the production of algae or insects with manure products, constructed wetlands to tackle diffuse nitrate pollution of surface water, pyrolysis or phosphorous specialised catch crops . But also existing strategies were investigated. A main conclusion is that policy instruments could enhance the right balance between economically feasible for the entrepreneur and ecologically best for society. Another conclusion was that existing strategies often face a problem of uncertainty and variability (e.g. input costs, output prices, feedstock availability, nutrient content in manure products). Yet it has been simulated that management and operating systems dealing with these technologies, can be adapted in such a way that variability can offer advantages, in a way that proactively adapting operational strategies to this variability can increase profits as opposed to simply undergoing it. Therefore more information and dissemination plays a crucial role. Farmers were unaware of the similar performance of biobased fertilizers, which has been tested in a three year trial within the INEMAD project. Indeed, a large survey in all participating INEMAD countries showed that this variable nutrient content in this new products was the biggest bottleneck to use them.
There were different stakeholder interactions during the projects lifespan. They acknowledged the need for increased dissemination of research results to practitioners. They also see the government as a central stakeholder who has an important role to play in stimulating the different types of strategies, either by offering financial support, providing a legislative framework or through creating or stimulating markets.
The main impact of the INEMAD project is demonstrating how different strategies, technologies and policy instrument can be used to alleviate the emissions of GHG and the reliance on external inputs and helping policy makers in their choice for efficient policy instruments.
INEMAD’s results were disseminated and can still be consulted on Five electronic newsletters were sent to 600 respondents. Towards the scientific community different presentations and papers were produced.
Project Context and Objectives:
European agriculture is becoming more and more specialised. Farm specialisation however co-evolves with an increasing reliance on external inputs and increasing environmental damage. Indeed, at this moment we experience a paradoxical situation where crop production has a need for fertiliser while livestock has an excess of nutrients. Recycling energy and materials through re-connecting crop and livestock production becomes indispensable for attaining agricultural sustainability. INEMAD has addressed the question of which new methods and how new arrangements should be developed to restore the recycling within the specialisation context. To realize these ambitions, the leading principle of INEMAD is a triangular enlargement (see figure) of the traditional farming systems with a “processing” system. Processing is proposed as a third system, to be linked with crop and the livestock production, in order to increase agricultural productivity while reducing external energy input and closing nutrient cycles.

Figure1: The nutrient flows of primary production
INEMAD is a 4-year FP7 project which started on the 1st of April 2012. The leading principle of INEMAD is that processing can help to restore the nutrient cycle and decrease the energy use. Processing refers to the new upcoming sector of the bio-based economy that uses primary products to produce renewable energy and green fertilizers amongst others. Nutrient recycling can be done through anaerobic digestion of manure and the use of the digestate as fertilizer. The project looks at nutrient management strategies at the farm level scale (WP2), at the processing level (WP3), at cooperation strategies between different farms or between farms and the processing sector (WP4) and how the institutional context influences these strategies (WP5).
Because of a well-chosen composition of the consortium, INEMAD has combined research (UGent, AUP, DLO, FOI-IFRO, ILVO, SOLTUB) with technical applicability (DLV, BTG, IZES and Innova Energy) and a broader stakeholder network as governmental partners (SMC, LDAR) and a sector organisation (BGBIOM). Partners involved come from 8 different European countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, France and Bulgaria). On the one hand, the different countries allow the consortium to draw on a variety of national and regional experiences to perform work with true European relevance. Countries as Belgium and the Netherlands with a lot of experience in processing systems were chosen, together with neighbouring countries to export digestate and green fertilisers, Southern and central European countries are chosen to exchange knowledge about experiences and systems.
INEMAD has a distinct focus on techniques and strategies for optimized nutrient recovery, with additional focus on opportunities for renewable energy production and carbon sequestration.
The first set of objectives refers to the technological developments for nutrient recycling:
• transform waste to fertilizers
• minimize greenhouse gas effect
• reconnect livestock and crop production.
The second set of objectives refers to the socio-economic framework to reach the optimal implementation:
• analysis of legal and organisational challenges,
• prediction of economic viability
• collaboration models across Europe.
Project Results:
During the INEMAD project, several strategies and processes have been investigated to link the arable and livestock production, with the processing sector as an important third party. Based on this input, the research team has created 40 working papers (WoPa’s) analyzing different aspects of the strategies to improve nutrient management. This summary presented here aims at bringing some general conclusions for WP3 and especially for the researched technologies. We will focus on the differences due to regional context, the diversified research needs but also the applicability, maturity and the efficiency of the technologies. The latter one is mainly focusing on the economic-ecological trade-offs that exist when thinking and selecting about the best technology. We also include the social acceptability and aim to unravel stakeholders’ awareness and perception towards these developed strategies.
Figure S&T1 shows a structured view of the different conclusions within the INEMAD research project. The same framework is used for the final deliverable in the second work package.
Central to decision making for the adoption of technologies, but also for the government choice policy design and implementation, is the regional context. Emphasis in the INEMAD project lays on the nutrient surplus in some regions while there are deficits in others. This will affect the choice of technology that processors or farmers will adopt, but this is also influencing the choice for research topics and levels of research. The regulatory and institutional context in a specific country or region will also influence strongly the adoption rates of innovative strategies (Stonehouse, 1995). Policy and institutions can result in a different choice for technologies in different nutrient surplus regions. This policy context is more elaborated in deliverable 5.2.
Figure S&T1: Conceptual framework
Depending on the problems and existing expertise and knowledge in a region, different research needs and knowledge transfer can be analysed. The translational research concept (Wamae et al. (2011)) is introduced here to explain the differences.
The choice of the technology to be adopted, is heavily dependent on the regional context. Yet more aspects play a role in the final choice of the technology. Three elements are important in this decision, the ease of application, the level of maturity or readiness-to-market of certain technologies and above all the efficiency of the technology or in other words the trade-off between what is economically feasible with getting the best ecological outcome.
The first considered aspect to choose a technology is the applicability. There are different technologies ranging from easy to difficult to apply. This can refer to on the one hand the complexity of the technology itself (large installation, technical know-how, maturity), but also to the management of these technologies which could introduce a novel way of thinking. We will briefly tackle both, but we will put more emphasis on the needed changes in management due to working with increased uncertainty and variability.
A very important aspect of the decision making is the efficiency of a technology. What is the best technology considering the economic-ecological trade-offs? Are more advanced technologies economically feasible? Is there a need to look for more alternatives or can simple changes to existing technologies help to reach the environmental targets?
A last aspect of adoption tackled is the social acceptability. Strategies that lack social acceptability are unlikely to persist, even if they are profitable and considered as a technical improvement (Clawson, 1975). Through stakeholder interactions and interviews, the results within the INEMAD project are tested on their social acceptability and the factors and concepts influencing stakeholder acceptability of different processing improvement strategies developed in the project are being analysed.

3.1 Regional context
The regional context was seen as one of the most influential in the uptake and interest in technologies. There is a clear difference in the livestock density among regions in the participating countries in INEMAD and this has an impact on the required regulation. The high livestock intensity has come as part of a political interest in high livestock production and activity. This has led to high environmental impacts and a need for policies to deal with this just as higher costs related to transport and/or processing costs (Belgium and The Netherlands). One would have expected that the high costs would have reduced the livestock density over time in the selected regions, but this has not happened. On the other hand, these regions still struggle to meet the environmental targets as the effect of the regulation takes longer than expected.
3.1.1 Regional nutrient availability
The nutrient rich regions are situated more in the North western European countries (Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium). They have difficulties reaching environmental targets for water, air and soil quality. These nutrient excess regions that have an intensive livestock farming, already implement different regulatory frameworks to reach the targets. Standard nutrient mitigation techniques are already widely spread. The difficult local context drives those regions to look for more advanced techniques to on the one hand recover these nutrients or mitigate the excess nutrients.
The nutrient poor regions are more situated in South Central European INEMAD partner countries. They face no nutrient excess problem at present, they rather have a lack of organic fertilizers. Evidently this affects the knowledge and awareness of certain technologies standard applied in nutrient rich regions (e.g. pyrolysis, acidification, ICT use, phosphorous specialized catch crops). On the other side these nutrient poor regions with limited access to animal manure are looking for possibilities to introduce other organic waste streams into the agricultural production system. Nonetheless also in these countries, there is interest in biogas production especially from bigger farms. The biogas production in these cases can also contribute to an increased availability of the nutrients in the digestate and hygienisation of potential harmful inputs with energy production as an additional bonus.
3.1.2 Regional policy context
Not only for the farms or processors the context is playing a crucial role in adoption of technologies, but also the decision of policy makers is influenced by the context. North western regions have stricter rules and will have more developed control systems to reach the nitrate directive. South Central European stakeholders often mentioned the lack of a sound legislative framework and the missing financial policy incentives to introduce these innovative technologies as an important bottleneck for adoption.
The INEMAD research has put a lot of emphasis on the institutional context and on the possible impact that policy instruments have on the management practices related to nutrient recycling, biogas production and cross-border manure transport.
Firstly, the efficiency of policy instruments aimed at reducing nitrate leaching given the highly variable decision environment in which farmers operate was assessed. We developed an innovative bio-economic simulation mode to calculate the impact of a mineral N tax, sub-optimal fertilisation standards and penalties when N-residue in soil samples at the end of the growing season is too high. The conclusion of this research is that a mineral N tax is an ineffective policy to reach a better water quality because the price elasticity of mineral N is very low for economic rational behaving farmers. The efficiency of N residue penalties and suboptimal fertilization standards are similar when we ignore transaction costs. The transaction costs are likely more important in the case of N residue penalties. In addition, at lower targeted N concentrations in the leaching water, the suboptimal fertilization standards still improve the water quality while the farmers balance the penalties with somewhat higher fertilization application in the case of residue penalties. The N residue penalty has as an advantage that the farm has more freedom to implement strategies that improve the water quality.
Secondly, support policies are compared for the biogas sector. A model simulating the investment and operational decisions of biogas operators given uncertainty in feedstock prices assesses the efficiency of feed-in premia and investment support. The paper shows that only high levels of operating support (Feed- in Premium (FIP) and Green Certificates (GC)) could stimulate the renewable energy sector to compete for high energy and high cost feedstocks. Therefore, operational support is the type of instrument needed to maximize renewable electricity production in the short run. However, this comes at the cost of reducing sustainability. Indeed, the biogas plants adapt their business models to high value inputs and less to the recovery of waste streams. The results of the model show that the long run sustainability and policy efficiency is higher with investment support than with feed-in premia. Policy makers should be aware of the impact policy instruments can have on other policy objectives. We show that a sustainable policy option would focus on investment support, that stimulates biogas plants to extract the maximum profits from waste streams. Moreover, investment support is a policy instrument that prevents the feed vs fuel dilemma.
A third policy simulation model within the INEMAD project has simulated the transport of manure products across borders within Europe. 2-3 millions of organic fertilizers or raw materials are imported in France or Germany from Belgium and The Netherlands. This quantity is increasing each year. Transport of fertilizers across borders means that one had to comply with many regulations related to agriculture, markets, environment, and European regulation for animal by products and European regulation for diseases control (bovine tuberculosis and paratuberculosis). The simulation relaxed import bans and the hygienisation requirements. Results showed that of course the export of nutrients would increase, but the total N denitrified decreased and total costs related to nutrient abatement decreased as well. Paradoxically the total transport distance would decrease as well. At the moment however, European directives are translated into different member state legislations, which sometimes lack conformity. This leads to contradictions when practically implementing the manure transport and a plea was made for harmonisation of the end products and transport of the digestate and manure processing sector.

3.2 Translational research
The INEMAD project covered different levels of research. More hypothetical or fundamental research is about creating new ideas (testing the impact of different policy scenarios). Applied scientific research focuses on the development of practically useful products and methods as was done for the BTG pyrolysis pilot. Practical research is research aimed at providing a short-term solution for the (sub)sector relevant issues, as well as the compilation and translation of knowledge (applied research) to the practice practical applications done by the SME’s in the project. In the traditional chain research clearly a passing of knowledge from fundamental to applied research is noticed. This interaction between fundamental and applied and practical research is called translational research (Wamae et al. (2011)).
Within the INEMAD project, the different levels of research are present. The broad disciplines and the mix of research institutes, more applied research partners, SME’s and consultants favor this knowledge transfer.
More important however, we see also a knowledge transfer between the two types of regions, nutrient excess and nutrient poor regions or North Western European and South central European countries. Western European partners have a need for more fundamental and applied research. Researchers did more hypothetical simulation of policy instruments (open transport borders for manure products or the effect of and testing the effect of feed-in tariffs). Applied research was carried on more innovative types of technology such as using animal manure products for algae production, constructed wetlands or insect breeding).
Central European partners researched more the effect and possibilities for nutrient management techniques based on manure or organic biological waste products. There was definitely a knowledge transfer of the already established technologies in nutrient rich regions to the partner countries not facing the nutrient excess problem. Consultancy partners from North Western Europe helped to develop a tool for stakeholders in South Central European countries to analyse future market possibilities for anaerobic digestion. The fertilizing capacity of new biobased products had special attention. More information can also be found in the section on social acceptability. Policy makers in these countries were especially interested in the design and implementation of regulatory issues and policy instruments. Another tool was developed by the Croatian partner together with the help of two Belgian SME’s. This biogas calculation tool helped potential Croatian investor in biogas plants to calculate investment cost and input needs.

3.3 Applicability of the technology
If farmers and processors will adopt a technology will depend on the ease of applicability of a technology. Some innovative strategies were explored such as the production of algae or insects with manure products, constructed wetlands to tackle diffuse nitrate contamination, pyrolysis or phosphorous specialised catch crops. But also existing strategies were investigated. Some of these technologies need bigger investments and experience. Some applications or changes in the management of existing technologies are easily applicable. INEMAD covered both.
Special attention was paid to improving existing technologies through a better management. Typical for the studied processing technologies is that they are prone to risk, uncertainty and variability, because they work with input and output stream that are not constant and have fluctuating prices. Different research questions tackled the better management of these aspects. Technologies or, speaking more broadly, management and operating systems dealing with these technologies, can be adapted in such a way that variability in input costs, output prices or feedstock availability can offer advantages, in a way that proactively adapting operational strategies to this variability can increase profits as opposed to simply undergoing it.
A good example is the variability of feedstock costs (temporal variability) and biodegradability in anaerobic digestion processes. Even though the model simulations were conducted under a number of assumptions, it can be concluded that varying substrate inlet mass flow rate and organic loading rate and at the same time reducing hydraulic retention time, can have a positive impact on the profitability of co-digesters. In this case, variability is created to increase economic profitability. The model and optimized feeding patterns can be adapted for commercial biogas operators, who, due to financial restrictions, might be limited to a certain quantity and type of feedstock, and who could, without additional investments, see their biogas production and profits increase by applying the changes proposed in the model. Even if adapting feeding patterns is more difficult to implement, this model can be used in a techno-economic optimization by taking into account variability in feedstock availability and prices. The model will then, based on this variability, propose an optimal economic solution.
Another INEMAD example looks in more detail to price variability in function of time. It was investigated if, for the Flemish market, additional profits could be made by biogas operators by switching from or the day-ahead electricity market (DAM). The results indicate that, based on the Belgian setting, demand-based production through intra-day trading (IDT) is an interesting option compared to supply-based fixed price electricity production but will not have a large impact on increasing the income for biogas operators at present. In future, however, an increase in electricity price volatility may improve the potential for DAM as well as for intra-day trading (IDT).
Looking at these studies we can conclude that, while variability cannot be reduced, the use of models can help to understand and manage this variability, and even take advantages of variability. Models can also provide clarity when it comes to dealing with uncertainty and selecting the right policy instruments to do so.
The same variability in nutrient content is often withholding farmers to choose for a certain nutrient management technique at farm level. The willingness to use digestate or manure products as a fertilizer is the prime example where the uncertainty in nutrient content in these products is the reason to not adopt. INEMAD researchers tried to identify the key attributes determining the acceptance of alternative fertilizer products. A discrete choice experiment was designed to reveal farmers’ preferences and Willingness-To-Pay for these attributes. Identical experiments were conducted in seven different European countries. The results indicate that farmers from the different countries have common preferences for concentrated products that have certainty in the nitrogen content and at a lower price than the chemical fertilizer. Other attributes such as the presence of organic carbon, hygienisation of the product and the speed of release of nutrients were only statistically significant in some countries. Yet based on this results and calculating the price farmers are willing to pay for these biobased fertilizers, then we come to a lower price than the cost for producing them.
Often there is a lack of information about the strategies and the agronomic consequences. There is a need for more integrated modelling or on-field trial to assess and communicate the effect of these bio-based products. Stakeholders did appreciate the results of the three year on-field experiment within the INEMAD project. This research may act as a catalyst for recognition of the liquid digestate fraction as a valuable fertilizer within the European legislation.
Also the maturity of a technology influences possibilities for adoption. Innovative firms will more easily choose for new technologies. In the INEMAD project, INEMAD test both on innovative technologies (still in pilot or lab phase e.g. pyrolysis or constructed wetlands) as well as more established technologies (transport of manure, anaerobic digestion).

3.4 Economic – Ecological Trade-offs
One of the most important decision parameters to adopt a technology is the efficiency of the technology. Efficiency is the cost per unit of output. However there are often conflicting outputs at stake. Processors or farmers want to maximize their profit. Yet from societal and environmental point of view, reduced nutrient emissions, renewable energy or a better water quality are important.
This trade-off between economic and ecological aspects was central in a research paper evaluating the manure allocation with a mathematical programming model where from economic point of view transport of manure was preferred while from CO2 emission point of view it was better to separate the manure. Anaerobic digestion could prove a good solution for manure management as our results indicate that over one third of total manure management GHG emissions is caused by CH4 emissions from storage. Besides anaerobic digestion, a number of solutions have been proposed in literature to reduce the CF during manure storage.
One possible solution for this problem is the addition of inhibiting compounds and acids (Amon et al., 2001; Berg and Pazsiczki, 2003). Slurry acidification significantly lowers the emission of methane (Petersen et al. (2012) and Hou et al. (2015)). Slurry acidification is already approved as Best Available Technology (BAT) and widely applied in Denmark as a cost-effective GHG mitigation measure (Petersen et al., 2012). Acidification of manure also reduces ammonia emission during storage and spreading of the manure. Yet, this brings us back to the importance of the regional context. In the case of acidification, there is also the institutional setting and the social acceptability that influence the uptake of this management strategy.
Another striking example of this trade-off is the heat use from the CHP. There is on the one hand the economic need to use rest heat of the CHP for the drying of digestate as a condition to get heat certificates and on the other hand the environmental effect of the drying process on CO2-emissions. The analyses showed that the electricity consumption of the dryer does barely compensate the fuel consumption of trucks that would have to transport the heavier and bulkier wet digestate. This assessment assumes that there is no hygienisation step required in the case of the transport of the wet digestate.
It is clear that the production of biogas from OBW and manure also decreases the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and is contributing is to renewable energy targets, but the question should be raised if there is a more efficient alternative for this rest heat than drying digestate? Indeed, the solution should be sought in a more useful heat application. The only way to move towards a more useful heat application for many regions is to alter its vision towards supporting integrated energy projects where the supply of heat meets it demand. In contradiction with the existing non-integrated isolated biogas projects, the CHP heat of future biogas projects should (to a certain extent) meet the profile of a nearby heat demand. This heat demand could be a local community, industrial or agricultural site.
The second example exactly investigates an alternative for this inefficient heat use. Biogas production mostly takes place in rural areas. Whereas this contains great advantages for the input material and digestate logistic there is the disadvantage, that often no sufficient heat sinks are within reach. This leads to inefficiency in energy use. One solution can be the upgrading from biogas to biomethane, which can be fed into the natural gas grid. Whether an economic advantage exists depends on the effectiveness of the upgrading system (methane leakage, energy demand), the national electricity mix and the chosen reference system. In most cases the biomethane use in new CHP units has to be preferred. The lower the carbon footprint of the national electricity mix (depending on the share of renewables and nuclear power) is, the easier biogas upgrading can generate an advantage in comparison with decentral biogas usage. Additional benefits and advantages of upgrading biogas to biomethane are that the natural gas grid can be used as storage and so electricity and heat can be produced on demand, contributing to a flexible energy production. Also the dependence on the imports of natural gas can be reduced.

3.5 Social acceptability
To structure the assessment of social acceptability, we selected the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as an analytical framework. According to the theory of planned behavior, the individual behavior, in this case implementing a new strategy concerning nutrient recycling, is predicted by the intention to perform a certain behavior, which in turn reflects three motivational influences; i.e. i) attitude, ii) subjective norm and iii) perceived behavioral control. Attitude refers to the favorable or unfavorable evaluation an individual has of a specific behavior, based on the beliefs about the outcome when performing that behavior. Subjective norm is determined by the perceived social pressure to perform the behavior, and the degree to which an individual cares about the opinion of a referent person. Perceived behavioral control is determined by the perceived ease or difficulty to successfully perform the behavior and is influenced by past experiences and factors that facilitate or obstruct the execution of the behavior. The contribution of each motivational influence in predicting the intention is not always equal and varies from case to case. However, it can be stated that if the aforementioned motivational influences are assessed more positively, the intention to behave increases, hence leading to a higher likelihood that an individual will perform a certain behavior. This all under the condition that the person has sufficient actual behavioral control (Azjen, 1991) (Figure S&T2).

Figure S&T2: The theory of planned behavior (Azjen, 1991).
Data was mainly collected through focus groups, organized in all INEMAD partner countries. By bringing stakeholders together in a focus group, they can share and discuss their ideas, experiences and beliefs about the strategies and expected outcomes (Morgan, 1998).
An overview of the concepts influencing intention, and thereby determining behavior, related to post-treatment techniques of manure, the use of bio-based fertilizers and the transport of manure are presented in Table 1 and 2. For all influencing factors, i.e. attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control, we can discern positive and negative concepts. For attitude, benefits and disadvantages describe the respective positive and negative expected or believed outcomes of applying the specified strategies. Subjective norm is influenced by persons or institutions stimulating or impeding the implementation of the strategy and perceived behavioral control consist of factors stimulating or limiting the execution of the specified strategy at the moment as well as factors that would facilitate implementation.
We can summarize the most important factors or people influencing the intention to implement strategies presented during the focus groups. The government plays a dual role. On the one hand they are considered as a potentially useful partner in the process, as they can offer different types of stimuli (e.g. financial support) to support the implementation of innovative strategies. On the other hand, they are often seen as an impeding factor (e.g. by not providing a suitable legislative framework). Absent or immature markets are another common factor hindering implementation. Also chain linkages and sufficient and reliable information about the products is considered as an enabling factor by stakeholders. Perceived behavioral control and thus intention would increase by tackling these factors. Post-treatment techniques of manure and the use of bio-based fertilizers are also stimulated by the community. Reason can be that awareness is increasing since these strategies are performed on local scale and result in a clear environmental improvement, thereby raising public interest. The community stimulates these strategies, but for the processing technologies mostly as long as it is not in their own backyard.
A main disadvantage mentioned by stakeholders is that techniques often stay on a theoretical level, and, despite promising results, lack practical implementation. As such, research is considered as stimulating, but this could be further improved by an increased dissemination of research results to practitioners. High (investment) costs are mentioned as a disadvantage as well, as they often require new materials or techniques. A specific disadvantage related to the transport of manure is having to deal with different regulations across countries. This could be expected as this is the only strategy that involves the actual transfer of nutrients across European borders.
Table S&T1: Concepts determining behavior related to post-treatment techniques of manure, the use of bio-based fertilizers and transport of manure

Table S&T2: Concepts determining behavior related the use of bio-based fertilizers and transport of manure

Potential Impact:
4.1 Potential impact
The INEMAD project beliefs to already have impacted and will further impact on European agriculture, European policy and environment. We concentrate them in three main impact fields.
1. Alleviating environmental problems in crop and livestock production by minimising the emission of GHG and minimising the reliance on external inputs.
• Different working papers tackle and research strategies to alleviate or quantify the emission of GHG often by comparing different strategies. It was noticed that the one third of total manure management emissions is caused by CH4 emissions from manure storage. The proposed INEMAD strategies can minimise these emissions and produce in a controlled way biogas like anaerobic digestion or separation.
• Biobased fertilizers was assessed to be a good alternative for chemical fertilizers with an energy-consuming production process. As such, this research may act as a catalyst for recognition of the liquid fraction of digestate as a valuable fertilizer within the European legislation.
• Existing management strategies often face uncertainty and variability in input costs, output prices, feedstock availability, nutrient content in manure products. There is still some economic and ecological progress to be made by improved management of these operating systems.
• Awareness of possible solutions is a first step for alleviating existing problems. INEMAD involved a lot of stakeholders and had a wide spread dissemination.
• Definitely INEMAD generated more insight in innovative nutrient management strategies and processing technologies through in-depth analyses. There was a knowledge transfer between the different INEMAD partners and definitely between North Western European regions with nutrient excesses and South central European countries who do not (yet) face these problems to the same extent.

2. Helping policy makers in the choice for efficient policy instruments to reach environmental quality, to valorise manure products, to promote more sustainable farming systems, to explore more alternative inter-farm arrangements, to steer the biogas sector in line with EU environmental policies and priority areas
• Policy simulations were at the core of the INEMAD project. Different impact assessments of policy instruments and legal frameworks give insights in the efficiency and long or short term consequences.
• Research revealed some contradictions in policies. On the one hand, policy instruments stimulate a certain sector or input use while in the long term these instruments will hinder the overall sustainability.
• A comparison of different legislation in different member states revealed how different the implementation of EU legislation is. This made clear that there is a need for more cross-border consultation and some harmonisation for certain legislations e.g. related to manure transport and hygienisation.

3. SME benefit of project results
• Consultancy partners from North Western Europe helped to develop a tool for stakeholders in South Central European countries to analyze future market possibilities for anaerobic digestion.
• SME’s increased their knowledge because of interactions with the mix of academic, technical experts and a broader stakeholder network as governmental partners and a sector organisation. At the same time, they contributed with their practical, hands-on knowledge and helped to adjust assumptions or the interpretation of results.

4.2 Main dissemination activities and exploitation of results
Different dissemination channels have been used. The aim was to ensure maximum use of the project results and web based tools by addressing farms, companies, research institutes, policy makers, business decision makers, etc. Next to the more general dissemination where the aim was to inform and spread the results of the INEMAD project, a more in depth stakeholder interaction was integrated in the project (see Deliverable 1.4 of the project).
The website is translated in 5 different languages: Dutch, French, Hungarian, Croatian, and English. The website was regularly updated with new activities, topics and findings, and publications. Most of the working papers show the abstract and can be fully downloaded in the section Also the tools developed on nutrient transport, blending of biobased fertilizers and a link to the Croatian biogas calculation tool can be found on the website. The presentations of the final INEMAD conference can be downloaded at
Five newsletters were sent during the projects lifetime in English, Dutch and Hungarian and can be consulted on the website Interested stakeholders were able to subscribe to the newsletter on the website. The newsletter were sent to over 600 subscribers via e-mail.
The INEMAD consortium co-organised two conferences together with other European projects that were also researching nutrient recycling or biogas production through anaerobic digestion.
• The first one being the FIRE-workshop organized together with FertiPlus (FP7) and ReUseWaste (Marie Curie training network project). It took place on the 26th of May 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. This event was set up as a PhD workshop where the main objective was to have a cross-over of the three project, inter project learning and looking for future opportunities to co-author papers or project possibilities. In total 62 participants attended this meeting. 10 INEMAD project partners attended the meeting from UGENT, SOLTUB, AUP, BGBIOM, LDAR, FOI, DLO, IZES. More information can be found on
• The second joint conference was organized with GR3 (IEE). This was a joint effort to disseminate projects results as both projects are tackling anaerobic digestion. The final GR3/INEMAD conference took place the 17th of March 2016 in Ghent, Belgium. 75 people attended the meeting. 24 people from the INEMAD project were attending from every partners within the consortium. INEMAD partners contributed with 14 oral presentations on the different topics and 7 posters. More information on

INEMAD partners gave several oral and poster presentation on different international and national conferences, congresses and seminars. Some conferences targeted more the farming sector, other the processing industry and INEMAD contributed also to seminars targeting policy makers (EU, national, reginal). In total more than 200 presentations were given over the total project life span.

One of the basic principles of the INEMAD project was the stakeholder consultation. From the beginning stakeholders were consulted to validate the research set-up and approach. A survey amongst farmers resulted in 664 respondents to the survey about the willingness to accept biobased fertilizers. At the end the national seminars were used to get feed-back on the main results.
Table I1: Stakeholder interactions and form of interaction during the INEMAD project✓

Different peer reviewed scientific publications are published or in the pipeline. As an example:
• UGENT: G. Willeghems, J. Buysse (2016) Changing old habits: the case of feeding patterns in anaerobic digesters, Renewable Energy, 92, 212-221, Elsevier,
• FOI: Willems, J.; Grinsvan, H.v.; Jacobsen, B.H.; Jensen, T.; Dalgaard, T.; Westhoek, H. and Kristensen, I.B. (2016). Why Danish Pig Farms have far more land and pigs than Dutch farms? Jour. of Agr. Systems, 144, 122-132, Elsevier, The Netherlands,
• AUP & BGBIOM: A. Zahariev, Sv. Kostadinova and A. Aladjadjiyan. (2013) Composting Municipal Waste for Soil Recultivation in Bulgaria, International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Vol 3, Issue 2, 2013, pp. 178 - 185, DOI : 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/6919
• UGENT, FOI & ILVO: Tur Cardona, J., Bonnichsen, O., Speelman, S., Verspecht, A., Carpentier, L.; DeBruyne, L.; Marchand, F.; Jacobsen, B.H. and Buysse, J. (2016) Farmers’ reasons to accept bio-based fertilizers: A choice experiment in 7 different European countries, Agricultural Systems, Submitted
• AMS & Innova Energy: Spicnagel A.M. Puskaric T., Van Driessche J. (2016) Calculating biogas potential in Croatia: case of a pig farm and small-scale digestion, World Journal of Agricultural Research, Science and Education Publishing, USA
• AUP, UGENT & BGBIOM: A. Aladjadjiyan, D.Penkov Ann Verspecht, A.Zahariev N. Kakanakov (2016) Biobased fertilizers – Comparison of nutrient content of Digestate/Compost, Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, v.8 issue 1, 1-7,DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/25217
• BTG: E.J. Leijenhorst (2016) Pyrolysis of agro-digestate: nutrient distribution. Book chapter: NutriCover, Wiley, To be published
• UGENT: I. Sigurnjak, C. Vaneeckhaute, E. Michels, B. Ryckaert, G. Ghekiere, F.M.G. Tack, E. Meers (2016) Feasibility of converting agro-food waste into effective bio-fertilizer: evidence from a three-year field experiment, Waste Management, Submitted

Four interactive tools were developed during the INEMAD project lifespan. Two tools visualize the nutrient transport and disposal costs of manure in NW-Europe. The first tool displays regional maps and gives information on the disposal cost of the different types of manure that livestock farmers have to face in the different regions. The second tool displays a chord diagram where the flow of nutrients are represented on a circular plot. Interesting for the users is that one can see the effect of some policy scenarios relevant to the European situation. The third tool gives information on the regional blend of biobased fertilizer products to satisfy crop requirements at regional level. It allows the visualization of different policy scenarios under discussion on the context of crop fertilization in Europe. The fourth one is a tool for Croatian investors in biogas plants. This biogas calculation tool helped potential Croatian investor in biogas plants to calculate investment cost and input needs. This tool is made available in Croatian language.

List of Websites:
The project website has been designed at the beginning of the project. It is translated in 5 different languages: Dutch, French, Hungarian, Croatian, and English. After the end of the project the website will be continuously updated and inform about further results. The interactive tools will keep being accessible.

Partners contacts can be found in uploaded pdf 'contact & logo INEMAD partners.pdf'.
Project coordinator name:
Prof. Jeroen Buysse
TEL: 0032 9 264 59 29
Project coordinator organisation name: UNIVERSITEIT GENT