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Fertiliser from air by plasma treatment

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Sustainable Manure (Fertiliser from air by plasma treatment)

Reporting period: 2021-12-01 to 2022-11-30

One of the main challenges our global society is facing is producing more food with less emissions, without using more land. Today, agriculture accounts for about 25% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and farmers are facing increasing pressure from all sides to improve agricultural practices. This project involves the development and optimisation of a solution that can help reducing emissions in food production without reducing production.

The solution is a revolutionary plasma technology that can turn organic waste into sustainable and efficient fertiliser using just organic waste, air and electricity. The end-product is called NEO fertiliser. The main objective of this project is to develop a next generation plasma unit by optimising the energy efficiency, reducing the cost and increasing the maintenance schedule of the technology. The project consortium consists of three organisations, ScanArc Plasma Technologies AB, University of Antwerp and N2 Applied AS.
The work performed in this project has consisted of research, development, modelling, building a lab scale prototype and assembly of parts for testing different parameters to optimise the technology. Feedback loops have been implemented to ensure learning between the consortium partners, connecting different industries and bridging the gap between R&D and industrial development. Results in this project include successfully designing a new generation plasma system that has been implemented in the commercially available technology. Major upgrades to the technology include more robust and continuous operations and better energy efficiency. On the R&D side advanced modelling of the plasma reactor has enabled a better understanding of the technology and design changes have been implemented based on this. In addition a completely new plasma reactor has been built proving a very low energy cost. Several seminars has been arranged to spread awareness on the technology and disseminate the results.
The second period of this project will involve continued testing and based on the results a new design for the next generation machine will be developed, with better energy efficiency, lower cost and increased maintenance intervals. The impact of the project is the commercialisation of a technology that has significant socio-economic impact. The technolgoy improves crop yield by an average of 40% compared to untreated manure. Furthermore, methane emissions from slurry is eliminated, ensuring a reduced carbon footprint on farms by 30%. Ammonia loss from slurry is eliminated, reducing air pollution from farms by 50%. Additionally, odour is practically eliminated. NEO is a real-world substitution to chemical fertiliser, that upholds production, while emissions are reduced.
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