ESPP’s 2016 General Assembly will take place Brussels, 1st December 2016 (9h – 17h), looking at phosphorus in industry: sustainability, recycling, new applications and processes, P4 and phosphorus chemicals. Tis is within the EU’s First Raw Materials Week parallel to ESPP’s general Assembly, the thematic meeting will enable industry and stakeholder dialogue on developments such as: new uses and applications for phosphorus in industry and energy, P-recovery from waste streams to industrial chemicals and P4, recycling of phosphorus in industry through other routes (e.g. fire safety chemicals, plastics), reducing environmental impact of P chemistry, challenges and opportunities around medical and industry applications nano forms of phosphates.

The EU’s “Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production” (EGTOP) has published its response to two dossiers proposing authorisation of recycled phosphate products as fertilisers in organic agriculture (under EU Organic Farming Regulation 889/2008). The dossier for struvite was submitted by the UK in 2014 and concerns struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) recovered in sewage works or from animal waste processing. The dossier for calcined phosphates was submitted by Austria in 2011 and concerns recovery from ashes of sewage sludge, meat and bone meal (MBM), or other biomass ash. The committee concludes that for Ostara Pearl struvite (the submitted dossier) there is no hygiene risk (organic pollutants or pathogens), but that this is not proven for other struvite production methods. Struvite recovery is noted to be conform to environmental objectives (reduces N and P losses to surface waters, recycles nutrients, reduces consumption of non-renewable P resources) and concludes that struvite should be authorised for organic farming “provided that the method of production ensures hygienic and pollutant safety”. For calcined phosphates, the committee also concludes that recovery from ashes is conform to environmental objectives (but with some concerns about energy consumption) and that calcined phosphates should be authorised for organic farming subject to being recovered from sewage sludge incineration ash and that heavy metal content should be limited (proposal: chromium(VI) non detectable, other heavy metals “minimised”). However, EGTOP also concludes that these two products cannot be authorised under the Organic Farming Regulation until they are authorised under the EU Fertilisers Regulation, so confirming the importance of the ‘STRUBIAS’ process underway to integrate such products into the current revision of this Regulation.

Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP) “Final Report on Organic Fertilizers And Soil Conditioners (II)”, final version 2 February 2016

A meeting was organised by CEN (the European Standardisation Committee) and CENELEC (electrical equipment) on 'Standards for circular economy: waste management and secondary raw materials' in Brussels 8th September. Of around 100 participants, ESPP and the paper industry were maybe the only representatives of the bio-nutrient and bio-materials sector. Yet, the need for standards development to support nutrient recycling and valorisation of bio-waste streams was made clear. Some of the day’s conclusions are strongly applicable to the nutrient circular economy: need to standardise terminology and definitions, including how to measure the recycling rate, importance of public information (e.g. traceability) to develop trust; potential of EN standards to open markets for export; quality standards for input materials, processes and recycled (nutrient) products; benchmarking to indicate for what uses a recycled product is appropriate. The meeting registered that a number of initiatives are underway or expected: EC mandates to CEN for standards development to support the Fertilisers Regulation revision and the EU Circular Economy Package, interface work to identify gaps and incoherence between fertiliser regulations, REACH, waste regulation; BS 8001 proposed standard “Framework for circular economy principles”. This meeting aims to launch a CEN informal process for dialogue on on standards for the circular economy, waste and secondary materials, in which ESPP will actively participate.

Historical SCOPE newsletters about phosphorus and nutrient management are now online on the ESPP website and can be downloaded here.

With the opening of its « Technophos » Centre of Excellence and Technology in Varna, Bulgaria, the Belgian group EcoPhos consolidates its pioneering role in the area of phosphates and phosphorus recycling. For more details see this information, the website and the live stream of the opening.

Do you have an innovative idea related to manure processing? Join the competition and win the Ivan Tolpe Award. More details and the website.

Phosphates 2017 530 115

13 - 15 March, Tampa, Florida, USA.

The only global event for the fertilizer, industrial and feed phosphate markets.

Best practice models from the Nordic countries and Europe, challenges of P recovery and recycling, quality standards and developing secondary markets with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the EU Commission, EPAs of the Nordic Countries, companies and local authorities. Oganized by Swedish Waste Management, Norwegian Waste Management and Recycling Association, and DAKOFA Waste and Resource Network Denmark and is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers in cooperation with the Nordic country national water industry federations.

Programme and registration


ESPP is organising a workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue). The workshop will look at which pharmaceuticals and organic consumer chemicals are found in sewage biosolids, at what concentrations, effects of composting, anaerobic digestion, whether there is a risk to health and the environment when treated biosolids are used in agriculture, how levels can be reduced and what further data and research is needed.

See programme for more details. If you are interested in presenting (speaker or poster) please contact with a short summary of your proposed presentation.

Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30
Programme and registration

Registration via the Nordic Phosphorus Conference website, or contact ESPP ()
Participation: 75 Euros (free for Nordic Phosphorus Conference participants)

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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ESPP working meeting

Pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids, 27/10/2016

New ESPP member

Fraunhofer IGB new ESPP member

Success stories

Maabjerg biorefinery

REVAQ sewage certification: biosolids recycling quality

Cooperl Emeraude-Energy launched

PHORWater final conference

Ductor biogas & nutrient recovery from chicken manures


EU exceeds international ammonia emissions limit

EU EIP Raw Materials publishes first “Raw Materials Scoreboard”

“Soil organic matter matters”

ESPP joins FAO Technical Advisory Group on Nutrient Cycles Accounting

Funding opportunities and calls

Alternative nutrient sources for organic farming

Everglades Foundation US$10M Premoval & recovery prize now open

European Network for Rural Development – resource efficiency

Science and media

UK research shows crop value of digestate and compost

Biowaste collection and recycling could mean 90 000 jobs in Europe

Phosphorus offtake threatens sustainability of grasslands

Where there’s swill there’s a way

Scientists propose fertiliser tax to balance biodiesel environmental impacts

HTC technology update and AVA Cleanphos pilot

EFSA say phosphonate is safe for food contact use

Phosphorus recycling by micro-algae growth


ESPP working meeting

ESPP is organising a workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue). The workshop will look at which pharmaceuticals and organic consumer chemicals are found in sewage biosolids, at what concentrations, effects of composting, anaerobic digestion, whether there is a risk to health and the environment when treated biosolids are used in agriculture, how levels can be reduced and what further data and research is needed. If you are interested in presenting (speaker or poster) please contact with a short summary of your proposed presentation.
Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 and ESPP pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids workshop 27th October 8h00 – 12h00

New ESPP member

Fraunhofer IGB develops and optimizes processes and products for the business areas of medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, the environment and energy. One of the key research areas of Fraunhofer IGB is the development and implementation of cost-efficient strategies and technologies for the integrated management of nutrients from wastewater and organic waste. In recent years, innovative technologies have been developed and demonstrated at laboratory, pilot and industrial scale to recover mineral fertilizers and soil improvers from municipal sewage sludge, livestock manure, digestate from biogas plants and food industry residues. This includes the chemical-free process ePHOS® (presented at IFAT 2016) for phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge and BioEcoSIM for manure valorization. Fraunhofer IGB believes that ESPP offers us a great opportunity to connect with new stakeholders, to strengthen existing partnerships, and help us promote sustainable phosphorus management at the European level.

Success stories

Maabjerg biogas plant, near Holstebro, Denmark, treats 725 000 t/y animal manures, food industry byproducts, abattoir wastes, sewage biosolids and industry flotation sludge, producing biogas for electricity production and district heating. The manure, food industry and abattoir materials are treated separately, producing 550 000 t/y of liquid ‘Green Line’ liquid digestate and 40 000 t/y fibres, both of which are recycled as fertilisers. A double piping system enables collection of slurry and distribution of liquid digestate with reduced road transport. The biogas plant is estimated to reduce environmental P and N losses by 300 t/y and to maintain 300 local jobs in farming and food processing.
IEA BioEnergy Task 37 Case Study, Denmark “Maabjerg Biogas Plant: Operation of a very large scale biogas plant in Denmark, June 2014”

Today over 50% of Sweden’s population is connected to REVAQ certified sewage treatment plants, ensuring continuous quality monitoring of incoming wastewater, sludge digestate quality requirements and transparent information about treatment methods and digestate quality, including traceability of biosolids origins and treatment dates. A key driver of the launch of the REVAQ Certification system in 2008 was the objective to ensure recycling of sewage biosolids phosphorus, nitrogen, micronutrients and organic matter back to agriculture, to provide nutrients and improve soil quality. In 2003, REVAQ Certified digestate contained nearly 3 000 t/y of phosphorus, of which nearly 50% was used in agriculture. REVAQ fixes upstream objectives for source reduction of pollutants, for example aiming to reduce cadmium to ≤17 mgCd/kgP by 2025 (see SCOPE Newsletter n°117 cadmium in artists paints). REVAQ is also working with upstream industries to reduce silver, gold, mercury and organic contaminants in sewage.
IEA BioEnergy Task 37 Case Study “REVAQ Certified WWTP”

Farmers’ cooperative Cooperl has announced investment in a 150 000 t/y input biogas plant, Emeraude-Energy, in Lamballe, Northern Brittany, France. The plant will methanise pig manure and slaughterhouse wastes, producing 79 000 MWh/y equivalent methane, which will be injected into the local natural gas distribution network. Around 610 t/y of phosphorus and 500 t/y of nitrogen in the digestates will be recycled in granulated, nutrient-adjusted organic fertiliser products (production capacity 80 000 t/y). Cooperl already produces such organic fertiliser products from treated manure, adapted to different crops and supplied to France’s agricultural regions which need nutrient inputs for crops such as vineyards, sunflowers, colza, maize. Several hundred thousand tonnes of poultry and pig manures are already processed to fertilisers in Brittany, see SCOPE Newsletter n° 111.
Emeraude Bio-Energie

The LIFE+ PHORWater project final conference in Madrid, 14th July 2016, presented DAM (Depuración de Aguas del Mediterráneo) success operating a 20 m3/day struvite recovery stirred reactor, designed by LAGEP Lyon, at Calahorra, Rioja, sewage treatment works. The project showed that struvite recovery and nuisance deposit avoidance can be optimised by mixing different sludge/digestate flows, which can also reduce chemical consumption by changing the reactor inflow pH. Field tests of the recovered phosphate are underway on potatoes and wheat in Spain. Bibiana Rodriguez, Magrama (Span Agriculture, Food and Environment Ministry) indicated that to authorise struvite as a fertiliser in Spain, either the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision process could ensure this, or field test data from Spain are needed to show fertiliser efficiency, as well as data showing safety and product analytical methods, in order to enable struvite to obtain end-of-waste status and be listed as an acceptable waste material for use on soils. The ReVaWaste LIFE+ project (Valladolid, Spain was presented (energy, organic carbon and struvite recovery from different organic wastes). The slides of the PHORWater conferences online now include presentations of experience by leading struvite recovery technology suppliers who participated, in addition to PHORWater: NuReSys, Veolia (Struvia), Suez (Phosphogreen), Naskeo and (see Amersfoort LIFE+) Ostara (CrystalGreen).

Ductor Corp., Finland, has announced its first commercial installation in Germany, at Haren (Emsland, Lower Saxony), designed to replace maize silage in biogas production (expensive and competes with food production) by chicken manure, with ammonia removal and recovery (as ammonia or ammonia sulphate). The Ductor fermentation system removes ammonia upstream of the anaerobic digester, so enabling biogas production from high N manures. The Haren unit, realised jointly with Rücken and Partner Group (R&P), is planned to treat 10 000 tonnes/year of chicken manure and recover 350 tN/year. The digestate can be neutralised with potassium hydroxide to produce a P-K fertiliser. Ductor was awarded GCCA (Global Cleantech Cluster Association) Top 10 in 2015. See here to attend the plant inauguration 30th September 2016.


In 2014, the EU exceeded for the first time its ammonia emissions (NH3) limit fixed under the Gothenberg Protocol to the UNECE Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention (LRTAP). Germany, Finland, Spain and the Netherlands also exceeded their individual ammonia emissions ceilings (by 35%, 14%, 5% and 5%). EU ammonia emissions increased by 0.9% from 2013 to 2014. The European Environment Agency indicates that 94% of EU ammonia emissions come from agriculture. This EU failure to respect its international obligations can be expected to progressively put pressure, via future revisions of the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC), to prevent ammonia emissions in manure storage, treatment and spreading, and so provide a driver for nitrogen recovery and recycling.
European Environment Agency (EEA) Technical Report 16/2016 European Union emission inventory report 1990–2014 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP)

The EU funded EIP Raw Materials (European Innovation Partnership) has published a 108 page “Raw Materials Scoreboard”. Phosphate rock, despite being on the EU Critical Raw Materials list since 2014, is only mentioned five times (plus two mentions to specify that phosphate rock was not covered). Phosphors (as used in lights, LEDs …) are mentioned but these should not be confused, they are based on different metals and not phosphorus. Phosphate rock world production is shown to be 70% concentrated in China, USA and Mongolia (Mongolia produces “phosphor” metals, for phosphate rock it should read: Morocco), which is conform to USGS data, but does not take into account the possibly higher geopolitical concentration of reserves. Phosphate rock is indicated to have only 10-20% “End of Life Recycling Input Rates” EOL-RIR), which is supposed to indicate the percentage of total material input into production coming from recycling. This is misleading: it may be based on the methodology of the Deloitte MSA report published 2/2016 (see SCOPE Newsletter n° 119incorrect and un-useable results”). In reality, nearly 1 800 ktP/y are recycled back to fields as fertiliser from manure, plus around 150 ktP/y from sewage sludge, food wastes and meat and bone meal ash, compared to total net EU consumption (import – export) of around 2 050 ktP/y.
European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials Raw Materials Scoreboard 2016, ET-02-15-541-EN-N

The European Commission’s EIP-AGRI has published an 8-page brochure promoting soil organic carbon “Soil organic matter matters”. This is published by EIP-AGRI following the Focus Groups on ‘Soil Organic Matter content in Mediterranean regions’ and ‘Soil-borne diseases’. It outlines the importance and long-term benefits of organic matter in soil, including nutrient capacity, water retention and drought resistance, reducing soil erosion, soil biological functionality and carbon capture (greenhouse emission mitigation). Scientific data sources and online toolboxes to help farmers restore soil quality are listed. Field cases cite compost and manure application as important routes for improving soil organic matter. The brochure proposes a number of themes for Operational Groups identified by the two Focus Groups. EIP-AGRI

The Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO) launched a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Nutrient Cycles Accounting and Impact Assessment (Nutrient TAG) within the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership. ESPP has been selected as a member. The LEAP Partnership members called for recommendations on nutrient accounting and impact assessment, for inclusion into the LEAP guidelines. The TAG will build a global common ground by technical dialogue between relevant scientific communities, practitioners, and LEAP stakeholders. Guidance from the Nutrient TAG will concern livestock supply chains including feed production from croplands and grasslands, production and processing of livestock products. During the first advisory group meeting held at FAO headquarters in Rome, 12 – 14 July, stakeholders discussed the objectives, frameworks and specific issues related to nutrient flow analysis, impact assessment, life cycle analysis and foot printing. ESPP provided a presentation on the need for better Data on Nutrients to Support Stewardship, based on conclusions of the DONUTSS workshop 201, see slides.
FAO Nutrient TAG

Funding opportunities and calls

Call for Research & Innovation Action to “find alternatives” to contentious input products used in organic farming. Manure from non-organic farming is cited as such an input. Phosphate rock is not cited, but could maybe also be considered. Objectives include accessible and cost-effective alternatives, improved knowledge of their use, enabling enhanced organic farm productivity and reduced environmental impact. Also is currently open a second call for Thematic Networks to disseminate agricultural research results to practitioners.
Horizon 2020 - SFS-08-2017- “Organic inputs – contentious inputs in organic farming”. Deadline (stage 1) 14/2/2017. Budget 8 M€.
Horizon 2020 - RUR-10-2016-2017 – “Thematic Networks compiling knowledge ready for practice”. Deadline 14/2/2017. Budget 10 M€.

The Everglades Foundation George Barley prize (total prizes 11.3 million US$) for solutions to remove nutrients from surface waters is now officially launched, with three cut-off dates for stage 1 submissions (31st August, 31st October and 31st December 2016). Final judging criteria are: land use footprint (impervious and total), cost (investment and operating), phosphorus removal from river waters (final objective: treatment of 0 – 15 million litres/day down to 10 – 15 ppb total P including in cold climates), environmental sustainability (impact on treated water chemistry and biota, waste disposal, value-added or recovered by-products – that is P-recycling), scalability, income from by-products (P-recycling). NOTE: entrants should verify the judging criteria for Stage 1 which are defined differently. Submission for Stage 1 requires answering seven questions online (short paragraphs): summary, total P inflow and outflow concentrations, upscaling, costs and investment potential, innovation and originality, inspiration. The entry must also include “A written report detailing the experiment design and environmental impact assessment” (upload file) – for which the template is available here and must include a instructions). A specific “Phoenix” prize of 170 000 US$ will go to the project showing the best potential for by-products.
George Barley Water Prize and Phoenix Prize, submission deadlines 31st August, 31st October and 31st December 2016

ENRD (European Network for Rural Development, funded by the European Commission DG Agriculture) is calling for participants for a Thematic Group on “Resource efficient rural economy”. Deadline for candidates 27th August 2016.
Call for candidates Information: under Downlaods

Science and media

Field tests of 3-5 years at 22 UK locations show that food-waste digestate provides plant-available nitrogen, increasing crop yields and that compost from garden green waste / food waste builds soil organic matter more rapidly than manure. Both products also provide phosphorus, potassium and sulphur to crops. The WRAP “DC-Agri” research summary (Feb. 2016) indicates total nutrients in this digestate as 0.5%N (80% readily available), 0.05%-P2O5 and 0.02%K-K2O. The summary provides analysis of crop yields, crop quality, soil organic matter, soil biology and physical properties, soil contaminants, ammonia emissions, greenhouse gases and leaching of P and N. The report underlines the need to respect good practice in application of all organic recycled nutrient materials (composts, digestates, manures) and indications are provided in the WRAP Guides to Good Practice UK DEFRA (ministry for environment, farming and rural affairs) welcomed the report for sustainable farming and renewable fertiliser “helping farmers to grow crops more smartly and efficiently”.
“Field experiments for quality digestate and compost in agriculture”, DC-AGRI report, Feb. 2016

The European Compost Network (ECN) estimates that the processing to recover energy and materials of Europe’s nearly 100 million tonnes/year of biowastes (40% of total wastes) could generate over 90 000 jobs (of which 70 000 in rural areas). Of these jobs, around one third exist already today, and processing the two-thirds of biowastes which are currently not recycled or used would thus generate 60 000 new full-time employment equivalents: see the ECN infographic July 2016. Further, a study by EUNOMIA in the UK suggests that separate collection of food wastes (which makes up 30% of domestic refuse in the UK) would save 12-25€ per household through reduced refuse collection frequency. Businesses producing 1 tonne of food waste per week could save over 2 200 € per year if mandatory collection were implemented.
“The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Biowaste Collections. A business case” EUNOMIA, Olleco, REA May 2016

Nearly 40% of livestock manure was exported away from the world’s grasslands over 1970 – 2005, removing P and N and threatening grasslands fertility, according to a study published in Nature and based on FAOSTAT data. The world’s grassland area is >3 billion hectares, twice the cropland area. Soil P removed from grassland must be replaced by organic and mineral fertiliser inputs. The authors estimate that to support an 80% increase in grass production, for milk and meat, these inputs will have to increase four-fold from 2005 to 2050. Combined with requirements for cropland, they estimate that mineral P fertiliser use must double by 2050 (to 1 200 million tonnes P). They emphasise that a range of nutrient management strategies will be needed to meet this challenge, including manure reuse, reducing food losses, returning nutrients from other organic wastes to land, balanced P fertilisation as well as mineral fertiliser use.

“Negative global phosphorus budgets challenge sustainable intensification of grasslands”, Sattari et al., Nature Communications 2016 Open Access

Food waste is currently banned from use in animal feed in the EU (and in some 18 US states), following the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak transmitted by illegal feeding of uncooked food waste to UK pigs in 2001 (incident which cost the UK around 10 billion €). Japan and Korea, on the other hand, feed 40% of their food waste to pigs after cooking under specific sanitising conditions (70 or 80°C), as does China. A recent study from Cambridge University UK estimates that similar, safe, food waste recycling in the EU could reduce land use of EU pork production by one fifth, i.e. 8 million hectares (half the area of Switzerland), including saving half a million hectares of Brazil soybean. Swill feeding to pigs is also analysed as reducing other environmental impacts (green house emissions, eutrophication), improving farmers’ profitability and improving pork meat quality.
“Reducing the land use of EU pork production: where there’s swill, there’s a way”, E. zu Ermgassen, B. Phalan, R. Green, A. Balmford, Food Policy 58, 2016, 35-48 Open Access

The EU’s ‘Science for Environment Policy’ has published a summary of study by INRA France suggesting that The paper is based on results of monitoring of 600 farms in the Meuse (Northern France) and economic modelling. The price of “fertilisers” is taken as a variable, without distinguishing between phosphorus, nitrogen or other inputs. Demand for fertilisers (in this region) is modelled as expected to increase by 2 – 8% to 2020, driven by increasing prices for colza (rapeseed) resulting from EU biofuels policy. A tax of 50 – 270 €/tonne on fertilisers (not specified which fertilisers) is simulated as appropriate to balance this increase in demand and mitigate possible environmental impacts. The authors note that the French government announced an increase in VAT on fertilisers in 2013, but that this has never been implemented.
“The impact of high crop prices on the use of agro-chemical inputs in France: A structural econometric” Bayramoglu et al., Land Use Policy 55:204-211, 2016 and European Commission Science for Environment Policy 15/7/2016 “Fertiliser tax of €0.05–0.27 per kilogram calculated for France as incentive to limit its use”

The EU 7th FP NEWAPP project (New technological applications for wet biomass waste stream products) has published an 80 page report summarising state-of-the-art of HTC (hydrothermal carbonisation) for conversion of wet biomass wastes to quality carbonaceous products which can be used in metal smelting, water and gas purification (pollutant absorption), animal feed additives or soil improvers. Also, the University of Hohenheim, Fraunhofer ISC (Institute of Silicate Research) and AVA-CO2 have started testing in Karlsruhe, Germany, a pilot plant for P-recovery from sewage sludge. The process combines HTC (hydro thermal carbonisation) pyrolysis, producing a coke-type fuel (“HTC-coal”), acid leaching of phosphorus, nano-filtration, membrane filtration and concentration to generate phosphoric aci, calcium phosphate or struvite. The company’s presentation indicates that the phosphorus is not glassified as can be the case in incineration ash so that the acid leaching requires less chemicals and energy, and that most of the heavy metal contaminants remain in the “coal”. AVA’s Karlsruhe demonstration HTC unit has a capacity of 14 000 litres.

EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) has published 13th July an evaluation of the phosphonate [[3,5-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-hydroxyphenyl]methyl]phosphonate. This organophosphorus chemical is used as a polymerisation additive in PET plastics (poly(ethyleneterephthalate)). EFSA concludes that it is safe for use in contact with food (FCM = food contact material) in this application. The evaluation indicates that no migration out of the plastic was detectable, that tests show no genotoxicity.
“Phosphorus from wastewater to crops: An alternative path involving microalgae”, Biotechnology Advances 2016

A review paper presents the state-of-the-art and knowledge gaps for the use of waste streams to feed micro-algae production. The algae can then be used either to extract chemical products (e.g. polyphosphates) or bio-fuels, or for use as fertilisers. P-uptake by algal cells is an active transport system, because the negative phosphate ion does not passively cross the lipid cell membrane which has a negatively charged inside surface. Phosphorus intake and storage occurs naturally in algae, e.g. species which vertically migrate in lakes to use the P-rich deeper waters and surface light. Selection of algae to accentuate fast growth and high P storage are discussed. Different growth technologies are presented: open ponds, photo-suspension bioreactors, immobilised micro-algae, thin layer systems. Further research is needed on these areas, and on selection of micro-algae to optimise their value as fertilisers, including interactions with soil micro-biology.
“Phosphorus from wastewater to crops: An alternative path involving microalgae”, Solovchenkoet al., Biotechnology Advances 2016

Copyright © 2016 European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, All rights reserved.

ENRD (European Network for Rural Development, funded by the European Commission DG Agriculture) is calling for participants for a Thematic Group on “Resource efficient rural economy”. Deadline for candidates is 27th August 2016. Registration here. More information here.

The George Barley Water Price launched. Everglades teams with Ontario for 11.2 million US$ nutrient removal and recovery challenge. Opening of the challenge is expected before mid- July with first submission deadline end summer 2016, then several rolling submission deadlines.

The Everglades Foundation Grand Challenge for new approaches to remove recycle phosphorus from dilute waters (rivers, drainage ditches, lakes) has now partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Xylem, to offer a total of 11.2 million US$ prizes. For more information, see summary of Everglades Grand Challenge in SCOPE Newsletter n°111.

A new website has been launched and submission application documents will be online at the challenge opening, expected early before mid-July. To be informed and pre-register, create your user profile:

“Everglades Foundation Announces The George Barley Science Prize Competition at White House Event Today”

Summary of the ESPP working meeting on the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision, held Brussels 29 June 2016, can be downloaded here. Presentation by the European Commission and other stakeholders are included as annexes. Background information of the workshop can be found here. See also other inputs of ESPP to the Fertiliser regulation revision process in the Regulatory Activity section.

The ESPP eNews no2 July 2016 can be read here with short communications related to nutrient management.

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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This is the number 2 edition of ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform) monthly News. We hope that you will find this useful. If other people wish to subscribe, it is free at If you have comments or news on nutrient management to share, please contact

In particular, much is happening in the Nordic countries: see below SyreN success story, manure acidification and Nordic Phosphorus Conference, Malmö / Copenhagen 27-28 October.

For full list of events, see below the news section of this email and on

New Platform member

New ESPP member ITALPOLLINA SPA, Italy, is a leader in the production of naturally derived fertilizers and specialty plant nutrition products, with 40 years experience. The company’s products are used in organic and conventional agriculture, and include fertilisers based on processed manure, biostimulants of vegetal origin and beneficial microbials. The company sells in more than 70 countries worldwide. Key principles are food and environment safety and optimal fertilisation efficiency, and so yield and quality, based on selection of raw materials, technologically advanced manufacturing processes and stringent internal controls. Luca BONINI, CEO, declares “Joining ESPP is an opportunity for us to develop our technologies, to create partnerships and to sustain the promotion of the recovery nutrients”. Benoît PLANQUES, Regulatory Manager, will follow the activities of ESPP.

Success stories BioCover’s SyreN system is an innovative, modular, on-farm system for improved manure management using technologies integrated into farmers’ existing slurry tankers. This reduces costs, enables mobility and makes use of slurry tankers during idle periods. SyreN offers five technologies: (1) manure acidification during application using sulphuric acid, reducing ammonia air emissions by up to 70% (2) dosing of additives to improve manure plant availability, soil properties or reduce odour (3) ammonia and N-stabiliser dosing, so improving N:P ratio and reducing N losses from soil (4) software / mobile phone system to optimise slurry application and (5) phosphorus recovery. The P-recovery module (SyreN+) firstly precipitates phosphate as struvite within the slurry tanker (leaving a low-P slurry liquor, which can be spread), then dissolves the struvite in the tanker using sulphuric acid (using the acidification equipment), giving a marketable and transportable NPS liquid fertiliser. BioCover SyreN has received the Baltic Manure Handling Award 2012, Agromek awards 2010, European Corporate CSR 2013 and US EPA Manure Nutrient Recovery Challenge 2016. BioCover is now looking for project or investor funding to adapt and implement SyreN in other countries, according to farmers’ regional modes of operation and equipment, or to recover the struvite as a solid fertiliser product (SyreN Crustal).
BioCover Photo: slurry tanker equipped with SyreN A 5.4 million € EU InterReg project has been launched to roll-out manure slurry acidification in the Baltic States, following on from Denmark’s experience (see SyreN above). The objective is to reduce ammonia emissions to air during slurry application, in order to cut greenhouse gas impacts to eutrophication (atmospheric deposition of N to the Baltic), as well as avoiding loss of valuable nitrogen nutrient for farmers. Over 1 000 famers are already using one or more modules of SyreN technology for acidification during slurry spreading (see above). The InterReg project aims to enhance capacity of public authorities and farmers, through pilot installations, feasibility studies and environmental and economic assessments.
International seminar on slurry acidification to reduce ammonia emissions, 28 - 29 September 2016, Vejle, Denmark (nearby Billund Airport) The KOTO company’s AlgaeBioGas installation, Llubljana, Slovenia, is featured as one of the European Biogas Association (EBA)’s six Success Stories: anaerobic digestion of biodegradeable municipal solid waste in European cities. The 13 000 m3/y feedstock anaerobic digesters, using mainly household food waste and food industry wastes, produce methane used for co-generation (4 GWh/y electricity and 2.8 GWh/y thermal energy). Part of the resulting digestate (0.5 m3/day) is used to feed a pilot-scale open raceway algae pond (30 m2), commissioned in 2014, ensuring biological treatment of the digestate and recycling nutrients into production of algae, which are then used as feedstock for further methane production, or for use in bioplastics or fertiliser production. The system is energy and greenhouse emission efficient, because exhaust gas from the methane-burning electricity co-generation is injected into the algae production pond, so using the waste heat and carbon dioxide in algae production, as well as reducing digestate odor. /

Projects The PHOSave project (Horizon 2020 SME Instrument), led by PROPHOS Chemicals will construct a pilot plant near Cromona, Lombardy, to recover and recycle phosphates from exhausted fire extinguishing powders. Halogenated chemicals in fire extinguishers have been largely replaced by phosphate based dry powders, because phosphate does not pose environmental or health issues and is effective in combating fire. Prophos Chemicals is Italy’s only producer of dry fire extinguisher chemicals of all classes. Fire extinguishers have to be periodically emptied, overhauled, refilled and re-pressurised, to guarantee reliable performance in case of fire. The recovered phosphate will be recycled into the chemical industry or as fertilisers. The Lombardy Region, Italy, has been selected to lead the Vanguard BioEconomy pilot project “Biogas beyond energy” (European Commission, Regional and Urban Policy). The project also involves Brandenburg (Germany), Baden-Württenberg (Germany), North-Rhein Westfalia (Germany), Navarra (Spain), Asturias (Spain), Skåne (Sweden), Emilia Romagna (Italy), Malopolska (Poland), and West Finland. The product will develop valorisation of different sources of organic raw materials as biogas plant inputs, in particular livestock manure, and transformation into value-added products including fuels, chemicals, energy and recycled nutrients. Lombardy Region press release 21/6/16

Media and meetings The new water sector publication Aqua Strategy, launched February this year, has published its third issue largely devoted to phosphate recovery and recycling from sewage. ESPP point to the Circular Economy as the key driver today for phosphorus stewardship, with aspects both of reducing European dependence on imports from a few regions, and opportunities for revival of rural areas and decentralised job creation. The EU Fertilisers Regulation revision is a key step forward, but the current proposals exclude the use of sewage-derived recycled nutrients. However, Member States will be able to authorise “national” fertilisers which are sewage biosolids based, such as the existing France compost standard. Ostara struvite recovery is presented as a success story, with now ACWA as technology licensee in the UK. Leon Korving, WETSUS, summarises new R&D challenges for phosphate recovery, in particular how to recover phosphorus from iron containing biosolids. AquaStrategy June 2016. "Releasing forms of P that other forums can't reach!” is the slogan of the provides online information on publications, events, research projects concerning organic phosphorus in soil, fertilisers and soil phosphorus. The site includes an active discussion and exchange forum, information on phosphorus analysis methods. @SoilPforum SusChem is the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (created by between Cefic, DECHEMA, EuropaBio, GDCh, ESAB and RSC). SusChem’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (1/3/2015) refers to phosphorus under $1.1 access to critical raw materials and 2.1 sustainable agriculture “There is a need for new and improved technologies for recovering and recycling these essential biological elements: phosphorus … nitrogen and potassium”. SusChem’s five priority factsheets state (under priority: water): “Resource recovery (“circular economy”), development of novel highly selective and energy-efficient separation technologies to recover specific resources (e.g. phosphorous) from industry wastewater”. SusChem is organising a project brokerage event, Seville, 13th September.
SusChem brokerage event 13/9/2016 Seville Jean-François Soussana, GIEC scientist and Scientific Director of INRA, opened the UNIFA (French fertiliser industry association) public workshop on the Circular Economy, Paris, 24th June. He explained that agriculture is a major contributor to global greenhouse emissions, with global emissions increasing despite reductions in emissions/kg production. But a 0.4%/year increase in world topsoil carbon stocks would compensate fossil fuel emissions. 0.2 kg N and 0.08 kg P are needed to stock 1 kg carbon. Challenges are measuring C effectively sequestered, and ensuring that C stays in soil. Australia pays farmers 11$/tonne-CO2 stored in soil. Chris Thornton, ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform) emphasised the business opportunities of phosphorus stewardship, synergies with organic carbon circular economy and current progress on EU legislation. Didier Marteau, farmer and Aude county Chamber of Agriculture underlined the need for traceability of input materials in recycled nutrient and organic carbon products and the advantages of developing methanisation. Gilles Poidevin, UNIFA, concluded with the importance of different sectors working together to develop the bio circular economy and to enable synergies between soil carbon, soil fertility and farm economic productivity.
UNIFA and ESPP presentation slides (in French)

Science and News The European Court has fined Portugal 3 million Euros, plus 8 000 €/day for failing to implement the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. The Directive required that all agglomerations of > 15 000 p.e. should have sewage collection and treatment by 2000. In 2009, the European Court identified 22 agglomerations not compliant. The new Court judgement concerns two agglomerations were still not compliant in 2014, with one now completed and one not planned for completion until 2019, nearly twenty years after the Directive deadline.
European Court of Justice press release 22/6/2016, judgement Case C-557/14 Phosphorus in municipal wastewater in China represents c. 5.5% of mineral fertiliser consumption. Data is presented on the number of operating sewage works in China, showing a doubling in capacity since 2005, and on the process treatments installed. Data on sludge treatment and disposal is not available, but estimates suggest that anaerobic digestion is not widely implemented and that 84% of sludge is no correctly managed. This study concludes that digestion then appropriate land application will be the main route for P-recycling, but with a need for strict control of land application to ensure biosolids quality and to avoid runoff and pollution. Struvite recovery is expected to develop in biological P-removal wastewater treatment plants. Proposed policies include: improving wastewater collection and P-removal, promoting anaerobic digestion and biological P-removal, developing legal and business framework.
“Phosphorus recovery from municipal and fertilizer wastewater: China's potential and perspective”, J. Environ. Sci. (2016), K. Zhou , M. Barjenbruch, C. Kabbe, G. Inial, C. Remy Phosphorus cycling in China over the last 4 centuries is studied, showing considerable increases in phosphorus use and high inefficiencies. Phosphorus in annual arable crop output increased from c. 0.4 million tonnes P/year (MtP) in the 1600’s to 3.3 MtP in 2012. Average input to crop production is today estimated at 80 kgP/ha, more than twice crop uptake capacity 85% of this excess phosphorus input is estimated to be immobilised in soil as “legacy P”. Phosphorus losses to China’s surface waters have increased threefold, with freshwater aquaculture the largest source of phosphorus losses (90% of fish-feed P lost to water). However, only c. 20% of the total P lost to rivers reaches the ocean, as most is retained in inland and coastal sediments due to relatively flat terrain and dams. China’s dietary P intake is estimated to be 30% lower than for the USA, but nonetheless higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The authors estimated that improved management of P in China (better use, recycling) could prolong the lifetime of China’s phosphate rock reserves by 20 years.
“Intensification of phosphorus cycling in China since the 1600s”, X. Liu, H. Sheng, S. Jiang, Z. Yuan, C. Zhang, J. Elser, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA), vol. 113, n° 10, 2016 A combination of P-recycling from meat and bone meal, sewage sludge and compost could replace 70% of mineral phosphate fertiliser use in Austria. The study is based on a detailed 2013 national phosphorus flow analysis. An optimal strategy would reduce import dependency by nearly 90%, reduce losses to water bodies by nearly 30% and nearly avoid consumption of mineral P fertilisers. This optimal scenario includes recycling, reduction of meat consumption, improved crop P-efficiency, optimisation in other applications (gardens, industry), reduction of point source emissions and soil erosion.
“Supporting phosphorus management in Austria: Potential, priorities and limitations”, O. Zoboli, M. Zessner, H. Rechberger, Science of the Total Environment 565(2016) 313-323

50% P-recovery from Germany’s sewage biosolids is feasible

Scenarios are proposed to recover 50% of total phosphorus in Germany’s sewage sludge biosolids. Economic and environmental impacts are assessed. Of c. 60 000 tP/year in German sewage sludge, around 25-30% are currently used in agriculture and this should remain an important part of nutrient recycling for high-quality biosolids. To efficiently recover P from the remaining sludge will require modification of logistics in sludge treatment, to ensure that sewage sludge goes to mono-incineration and is not mixed with low phosphorus wastes, in order to deliver sewage sludge incineration ash with a P content of around 8%. Technical processes are available to recover P from such ash. A scenario with 30% recovery of Germany’s sewage biosolids P by technical processes from ash, and 20% continuing to be used in agriculture, resulting in a net positive impact for energy consumption and climate change emissions. “Phosphorrecycling aus Klärschlamm in Deutschland: eine Abschätzung von Kosten und Umweltauswirkungen” (Phosphorus recycling from sewage sludge in Germany : an estimate of costs and environmental impacts), F. Kraus, C. Kabbe, C. Remy, B. Lesjean, 10 pages (in German), Korrespondenz Abwasser, Abfall 2016 (63) Nr. 6

Full events listing online at:
To add your event, please contact
Copyright © 2016 European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, All rights reserved.

The ESPP eNews no1 June 2016 can be read here with short communications related to nutrient management.

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform) is launching a new monthly News, to provide regular updates on nutrient management success stories, regulatory developments, science and reports.

This will be in addition to the SCOPE Newsletter, which will provide, as to date, in-depth coverage of science publications, conferences and regulation.

This is the "Beta" first edition of this monthly News, pending finding a more attractive and readable layout. It is sent initially to all SCOPE Newsletter subscribers. We hope that you will find this useful. If other people wish to subscribe, it is free at If you have comments or news on nutrient management to share, please contact

For list of events, see below the news section of this email. Next ESPP meeting: EU Fertiliser Regulation workshop 29th June Brussels: Discussion of proposed Regulation text, application to recovered nutrient products, composts, digestates.

On 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300 000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE supportOn 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300 000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE support, the water and sewage treatment plant is energy neutral, and uses thermal hydrolysis (ELIQUO) and WASSTRIP to increase soluble phosphorus release. Objective is to recover 40% of works input P as struvite. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. inaugurated the Ostara unit, noting that the company will have units operating in 14 sewage works worldwide by end 2016. The recovered struvite is sold by Ostara as Crystal Green performance fertiliser prills, with granulometry size grades, hardness, low-dusting and salt index conform to fertiliser industry SGN specifications.

The European Commission’s JRC (Joint Research Centre) has launched the official process, mandated by DG GROW, to prepare EU “fertiliser criteria” for struvite, ash-based materials and biochars. A first meeting of the group (“STRUBIAS”) of around 30 experts selected by the Commission to advise this criteria process will take place 5-6 July. ESPP, DPP and Fertilisers Europe are designated to this expert group. The criteria elaborated by JRC will then be submitted to the European Commission for addition as an annex to the revised EU Fertiliser Regulation (once this has been adopted and promulgated). These annexes will be integrated into the Regulation by European Commission without requirement to consult European Council or Parliament. Contact to input.
EU Fertilisers Regulation proposed revised regulation summary in SCOPE Newsletter n° 120 - EU publication of comments received by deadline of 12th May 2016: ESPP comments 12th May 2016 - ESPP input to struvite, ash and biochar EU fertiliser criteria definition

A draft Bill submitted to the US Congress proposes a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) for biogas production and for manure nutrient recovery installations. The bill would also open to new Clean Energy Bonds. The bill would open ITCs for biogas production which do not generate electricity (e.g. for production of natural gas energy) and would facilitate funding, and so implementation, of nutrient recovery on farms.
US Congress proposed Bill H. R. 5489 “ To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make qualified biogas property and qualified manure resource recovery property eligible for the energy credit and to permit new clean renewable energy bonds”
“Biogas Industry Applauds Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act”, 16th June 2016

EU Commission public consultation open to 28th August 2016 on Horizon 2020 (R&D funding) 2018-2020 on food security, sustainable agriculture, forestry, water and bio-economy (Societal Challenge 2). This is open to individual citizens and all organisations. Online is a 9-page scene setter text and a simple questionnaire. The scene setter outlines the Horizon 2020 priorities which govern this 2018-2020 Work Programme (including sustainable food security – resilient and resource efficient value chains, rural renaissance – innovation and business opportunities and biobased innovation: all of which are very relevant for nutrient use optimisation and phosphorus recycling. Open questions ask to indicate key challenges, desired outputs and impacts, innovation needs, science and social gaps, game changers – accelerators and horizontal issues (social, sustainability).
European Commission Research & Innovation “Public consultation on Horizon 2020 ‘Food Security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’ Work Programme 2018-2020”, open to 28/8/2016

EU Commission call open to 15th September 2016, first phase Expressions of Interest. Innovation Deals are a new EU concept, based on the Netherlands “Green Deals” (see example of North Sea Resources Roundabout in SCOPE Newsletter N° 120). The aim of an Innovation Deals is “in-depth understanding and clarification of how an EU rule or regulation applies. If a rule or regulation is confirmed as an obstacle to innovations … the Deal will make it visible and feed into possible further action”. The Deals “will allow innovators to swiftly address legislative obstacles, shortening the time … to market uptake”. The Deals take the form of voluntary cooperation between the EU, innovators, and national, regional and local authorities and are without EU funding. Five Deals will be selected from this call for Expressions of Interest, plus up to ten via Horizon 2020 circular economy calls CIRC-01 and CIRC-02. A simple application form (20 line description of proposal) and proposal template are available online.
European Commission (DG Research & Innovation) “Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy. Pilot phase within the scope of the Circular Economy” call open to 15/9/16. application form - 1-page presentation template - selection criteria

Following the proposal submitted by ESPP and 60+ organisations across Europe (SCOPE Newsletter n° 114) to launch, the EU’s EIP-Agri Innovation Partnership has selected the theme Recycled Nutrients for its 19th Focus Group. The first meeting took place 31st May – 1st June. The 20 selected experts include ESPP. Expected outputs of the Focus Groups are “mini-papers” (to be written by the expert group and published by EIP-Agri), proposals for EIP-Agri Operational Groups, which will summarise issues and identify R&D needs (possible input to Horizon 2020) and of dissemination needs and other actions. Possible mini-papers suggested to date cover themes such as: quality and monitoring standards for recycled nutrient products, logistics and flows, end-user requirements (farmers, food industry), P-recovery technologies, regulations, on farm nutrient management tools and practice, soil organic matter, nutrient use efficiency, LCA and environmental impacts of nutrient recycling. Contact for further information or to input.

The United Nations FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) LEAP (Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance) Partnership has selected 31 world-level experts for its “Nutrient cycles accounting and Impact assessment Technical Advisory Group” (TAG), including ESPP’s Kimo Van Dijk. The TAG aims to define nutrient assessment and accounting frameworks for benchmarking environmental performance of livestock production, feeding and processing chains, methods for accounting soil nutrients stock changes, for emissions and for life cycle analysis, proposing indicators to assess phosphorus as critical resource. The first FAO Nutrient TAG meeting will take place in July. Contact to input.

Monopotassium phosphate MKP solution was tested as a fungicide in vitro on apple scab Venturia inaequalis (conidia germination, germ tube elongation) and in the orchard. MKP showed to be relatively ineffective (c. 20% effectiveness), compared to boric acid or commercial fungicide. Previous literature has however shown that MKP can be an effective fungicide against powdery mildew on rose or pepper. None of the treatments had adverse impacts on leaves or fruit.
“Efficacy of Boric Acid, Monopotassium Phosphate and Sodium Metabisulfite on the Control of Apple Scab”, Journal of Phytopathology 2016, A. Arslan

A 37 day study of 16 early-lactating cows shows that treatment of feed concentrates with lactic acid can improve efficiency of animal feed phosphate use. 5% lactic acid treatment of feed concentrates resulted in the same metabolic and energy efficiency (lower food intake, maintained body weight and milk yield) as 0.8% calcium monophosphate. The authors conclude that the lactic acid feed treatment improves energy and mineral status and can thus reduce feed phosphate requirements, in lactating cows fed high levels of concentrates (47% in this study). There are possible concerns of rumen acidosis, identified in this study but without adverse physiological or performance effects.
“Metabolic responses, performance, and reticuloruminal pH of early-lactating cows fed concentrates treated with lactic acid, with or without inorganic phosphorus supplementation”, A. Khol-Parisini, E. Humer, H. Harder, E. Mickdam, Q. Zebeli, J. Dairy Sci. 99:1–14, 2016

France’s national radio, France Info, criticises the failure to act on agricultural nutrients emissions which continue to cause algal blooms on Brittany’s beaches. The 2-minute report and online article “Green Algae in Brittany: Inconvenient Truths” accuses the State and the Brittany Region of covering up health impacts, removing funding from independent scientific investigation and using funding intended to reduce nutrient emissions to subsides increasing the size of pig farms.
“Algues vertes en Bretagne : des vérités qui dérangent”, Inès Léraud, France Info, 2 minutes plus online article

A report by Wageningen UR for the Netherlands Ministry for Economics gives data for urban P-flows, information on recent P-recycling development and future perspectives. Only 12% of P in urban waste and wastewater is recycled, mainly from industrial wastewater (2 300 tP/y), particularly food industry sludge. P-recovery in sewage works is developing with struvite recovery, but quantities today are small. A significant increase in P-recover from waste water will result from the SNB – HVC – EcoPhos contract which will concern half of Netherlands sewage sludge from 2018. Today, 2 400 tP/y are lost to surface waters in wwtp discharges. Perspectives discussed include reducing food waste, installing kitchen sink grinders to send food waste to sewage works, source separation of urine in several projects, reducing wwtp discharge concentrations, separating storm waters from wwtp input and incinerating meat and bone meal ash in processing routes where P-recovery is possible.
“Phosphorus recycling from the waste sector”, PRI Report 641, Wagening UR, 2016, F. de Ruijter, W. van Dij,, J. van Middelkoop, H. van Reuter

The Järki project, Finland, has published an assessment of nutrient use in agriculture, recycling potential and markets and of relevant regulation, covering the EU level and seven country cases (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Finland). The report notes major regional differences in nutrient flows across Europe, and also that EU legislation is implemented differently between Member States and national regulations are also different: e.g. Nitrates Directive, fertiliser spreading, manure processing, livestock production BAT, sewage sludge regulation, national fertiliser regulations, National Ceiling Emissions Directive for ammonia ….
“Twists in Nutrient Recycling”, L. Hari, K. Riiko, BSAG and Nature and Game Management Trust Finland. English summary 11 pages Full report in Finnish 60 pages

US study shows that nutrients will be a limiting factor for algae biofuel production, unless they are recycled in the process and also recycled nutrients are used as input. The US EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act 2007) targets for biofuel production are considered, assuming a 19 billion litres/year target for algae-based biofuels, based on Chlorella and Nanochloropsis. Catalytic hydrothermal gasification (producing methane and hydrogen from algae) offers the highest potential for nutrient recycling in the biofuel production process. Secondary sources of nutrients are estimated to be sufficient to supply the “new” nutrient input necessary, beyond in-process recycling.
“Implications of widespread algal biofuels production on macronutrient fertilizer supplies: Nutrient demand and evaluation of potential alternate nutrient sources”, C. Canter, P. Blowers, R. Handler, D. Shonnard, Applied Energy 143 (2015) 71–80

Copyright © 2016 European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, All rights reserved.

On 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300.000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE supportOn 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300.000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE support, the water and sewage treatment plant is energy neutral, and uses thermal hydrolysis (ELIQUO) and WASSTRIP to increase soluble phosphorus release. Objective is to recover 40% of works input P as struvite. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. inaugurated the Ostara unit, noting that the company will have units operating in 14 sewage works worldwide by end 2016. The recovered struvite is sold by Ostara as Crystal Green performance fertiliser prills, with granulometry size grades, hardness, low-dusting and salt index conform to fertiliser industry SGN specifications.

Omzet Amersfoort WWTP information

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Solutions

ELIQUO technology at WWTP Amersfoort

Struvite blues song

ESPP published a SCOPE article overview on struvite as an effective fertiliser which you can read here (page 5). This overview can contribute to the discussion about the effectiviness of struvite, also in the light of the revision of the EU Fertiliser Regulation, see the ESPP website regulatory section.

ESPP will organise a technical meeting on recycled nutrient products in the proposed EU Fertiliser Regulation revision,
29th June 9:00-17:00, Brussels. If you wish to participate in this meeting please indicate to me your name and organisation

  • overview of proposed revision text (1) (EU Commission DG GROW = participation confirmed) and of comments received to date (2)
  • rapid presentation of key proposals / positions / questions (as relating specifically to recycled nutrient products) by ESPP, European mineral and organic fertilisers, biogas, compost, farmers organisation (to be confirmed)
  • discussion of selected technical issues concerning the proposed Fertiliser Regulation revision text
    • Traceability of sewage and manure derived products (ESPP proposal, not in Commission text)
    • Definition of organic and inorganic fertilisers
    • Fertiliser effectiveness and how to demonstrate this
    • Contaminant levels and other technical criteria for recycled nutrient products
    • “Missing” categories currently not covered
    • Other technical issues to be defined – proposals welcome

The meeting will also discuss:

  • EIP AGRI Focus Group on agronomic use of recycled nutrients (3): aims of the Focus Group, what actions are needed and what input ESPP can provide and how to do this
  • Information will be provided on the JRC criteria process for struvite, ashes, biochars (4)

If you wish to participate in this meeting please indicate to me your name and organisation

Comments or proposals on meeting content welcome.

1 = published proposal for EU Fertilisers Regulation revised text 17/3/16: 

2 = comments to date see:

3 = ESPP is selected as a member of this EIP-AGRI Focus Group, as are also several ESPP network participants. First meeting is 31 May – 1 June. The aim is to define research needs, information assessment and communication needs concerning agronomic value and use of recycled nutrient products. ESPP will need input from agronomic experts, researchers and nutrient recyclers. See:

4 = ESPP draft criteria are completed for struvite, ashes, and are under finalisation for biochars, see EU JRC work is being launched to define EU criteria, to add into the Fertiliser Regulation revision. The deadline for candidature for the DG GROW expert group to support JRC work on this is 31st May and first meeting 6-7 July. This point therefore be for information, not for discussion.


On 10 July 2016 in Denver (USA), ESPP will lead an opening plenary session on "Closing the loop for P success stories" at the WEF/IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2016 conference.

NRR 2016 logo 18 5 16

Session program can be found here:

More information about the conference here:

ESPP has submitted first comments on the draft revised EU Fertiliser Regulation. This new text is positive and important step to opening the market for recycling of nutrients and carbon from organic wastes and by-products. ESPP proposes to introduce traceability into the regulation, for products liable to contain organic contaminants from sewage, manures, food wastes and animal by-products, in order to ensure public and food-chain confidence and safety. ESPP also proposes to require demonstration of the agronomic fertiliser effectiveness of recycled nutrient products. In order to enable innovation with new recycled nutrient products, ESPP proposes to clarify the criteria for authorisation of new categories and to already launch work on additional new products: recovered mineral N fertilisers, other phosphates (as well as struvite), processed manure and sewage products. Summary of Fertiliser Regulation proposal text see SCOPE Newsletter 120. ESPP comments here.

Five Live Science, BBC5 Radio UK, has put out an interesting 20 minute roundup of why phosphorus is important, how to reduce uses and losses and opportunities for recycling. Robert Evans, Anglia Ruskin University, explains how Coton near Cambridge used to be the UK’s dinosaur poo capital until resources ran out leaving Europe largely dependent on imports to supply fertilisers and grow food. Pete Vale, Severn Trent Water, presents the beauty of sludge cake, full of natural goodness for crops and healthy soil, and the potential of P-recovery as struvite. James Dyke, Southampton University, discusses the risks of geopolitical concentration of phosphorus rock supply worldwide. John Hammond, Reading University discusses how to better use P in agriculture and in soils, and how to reduce society’s phosphorus needs for exampling by changing diets.

Listen online: 5 Live Science Naked Scientists – Phosphorus Shortage 14th May 2016 (35 minute point – 59 minutes)

More info including the radio item can be found here:

Call for partners for an Interreg project on the use of ashes as fertiliser or soil amendment.
See call here.

Meet at 16 June 2016, Amersfoort, Netherlands, European struvite recovery operators willing to share their practical experience and learn more about running recovery technologies. This workshop will be linked to the official commissioning of the first WASSTRIP/PEARL/LYSOTHERM facility in the world.

More information at:

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