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N2 Applied is a Norwegian technology development company, with the head office in Oslo and a test centre in Svene. N2 Applied is a catalyst and an incubator for high-tech initiatives related to nitrogen. N2 Applied has developed technology to enable on-farm processing of manure or biogas digestate to produce a nitrogen fertiliser. Using renewable electricity and air, a plasma reactor fixes nitrogen by splitting the N2 and O2 molecules in air into N and O atoms to generate nitrogen oxides. These nitrogen oxides react with ammonia in manure or digestate to form ammonium nitrate, so lowering pH and stabilising the nitrogen, reducing ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions during storage and field application. After solid/liquid separation the liquid fraction of manure or digestate can be managed as a liquid nitrogen fertiliser, compatible with organic farming (depending on the manure and digestate substrate inputs). Most of the phosphorus will remain in the solid fraction. N2 Applied joins the ESPP network to share knowledge and collaborate on efficient and sustainable nutrient management in agriculture.

N2 Applied website
See also: “Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing”, Graves et al., Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, Jan. 2019, vol. 39, Issue 1, pp 1–19

N2 Applied short

ESPP has published a draft “Phosphorus Fact Sheet”. The objective is to provide in a readily accessible form, supported by reference sources, key numbers and data relating to phosphorus production, uses, environmental impacts and recycling, in order to offer in one place answers to often asked questions. This responds to the issue that for many aspects of the phosphorus cycle, data is not easily available, or published data is contradictory or out of date, or confusing because of use of different units (tonnes of rock, of phosphorus, of P2O5 …). Best estimates are made of how much phosphorus goes to different applications: agriculture (much the biggest use: c. 87% to fertilisers and 7% to animal feed), fire safety, batteries, food and beverage … Estimates are also provided on phosphorus in food, in sewage, phosphorus “use efficiency” … The objective is not to have fully scientifically justified numbers, but estimates which are considered realistic by competent stakeholders. Any comments are welcome: on the estimated data, on the sources used, or for other data on aspects of phosphorus management which it would be useful to include.

ESPP Phosphorus Fact Sheet for comment

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

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Events and conferences
Leading organic fertiliser companies will meet at first summit
Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
CRU “Phosphates 2019” Conference, March 2019
Calls, consultations and projects
ManuResource 2019 - call for papers open to 31st May
Phosphorus Fact Sheet – for comment
ECHA consultation open on microplastics may impact fertilisers
US phosphorus platform launches “Challenge”
SYSTEMIC survey on digestate treatment
LIFE-CHIMERA chicken manure to fertiliser survey
Call for papers: resource recovery from waste water
Local farmers group develops dairy farm nutrient tool
Nutrient recycling for organic farming
European policies
EU Fertilisers Regulation status
NGOs and industry show common aims for Water Framework Directive refit
Individuals rights to action under the Nitrates Directive
EU strategy on pharmaceuticals in the environment
New ESPP member
N2 Applied joins ESPP
United Nations moves forward on nitrogen cycle
United Nations conclusion meeting of GEF nitrogen project
United Nations resolution on nutrient management
Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM)
Nutrient and organics recycling
Netherlands fertiliser industry supports mineral - organics synergy
Recovered nitrogen salt solutions compared to commercial fertilisers
ECN – Vlaco workshop on composts and digestates
ECN report on biowaste management in Europe
Supercritical Water Gasification of sewage sludge
Finnish Quality Assurance Scheme for organic recycled nutrient products is published
Food policy
Should phosphorus be included in food labelling?
NGOs call for EU food policy
ESPP members
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The final endorsement of the EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) is expected in Council before end May and publication of the Regulation in the Official Journal before end June 2019. There will then be a three year delay period before implementation, that is before companies can place on the market CE-Mark fertilisers. The JRC “STRUBIAS” report (struvite and recovered phosphate salts, biochars and pyrolysis materials, ash-based materials) is expected to be published at the same time, and then the European Commission will launch the necessary comitology processes to validate FPR annexe texts to bring these products into the FPR. ESPP participated at the EU Fertilisers Working Group meeting of 10th May which progressed a number of questions concerning implementation of the FPR, including:

  • Defining agronomic and safety criteria for by-products (CMC11 of the FPR). It was clarified that this concerns both industrial by-products but also organic by-products (plant materials, food industry by-products - but not Animal By-Products, composts or digestates covered in specific CMCs) where such materials are used as components of future CE-mark fertilising products (as defined under the FPR, this includes soil improvers, liming materials, biostimulants …). It was also clarified that this should concern agronomic “indirect” value, in a wide sense, so as to not exclude by-products used in fertilising products for non-agronomic purposes (such as additives used in processing, such as anti-caking or pelleting agents).
  • Mandate to CEN to develop harmonised standards for testing methods, to accompany FPR implementation and CE-Mark validation. The current draft list of required new standards can be consulted at This mandate is expected to be transmitted to CEN very rapidly after FPR publication.
  • ESPP notes that the Commission proposes to request CEN to develop standards to determine the “organic nitrogen content” of organic fertilisers, soil improvers, etc., which be transposable to discussions of “processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive.
  • Preparation of a European Commission “FAQ” (frequently asked questions and answers) document on the FPR. This is proposed to replace the ‘Implementation Guide’ requested by ESPP and industry. Please send to ESPP any questions concerning understanding and implementation of the FRP which you think it would be useful to include in such a document, and ESPP can forward to the European Commission.

EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR) final adopted text:

Join and register now:

SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic and Organo0mineral Fertiliser Industry in Europe
Organised by ESPP in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society)

Brussels, Belgium (within walking distance of Gare du Midi and Gare Centrale)
Wednesday 5th 14h00 – Thursday 6th June 16h30

The first Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE) is promising to be an interesting meeting, bringing together different parts of the fertiliser industry (organic, organo-mineral, mineral) and agronomists

The conference includes presentation of the new European Fertilisers Regulation by the European Commission DG GROW, and discussion of implementation and new standards for organic and organo-mineral fertilisers.

By bringing together organic and organo-mineral fertiliser producers from across Europe and beyond, to dialogue with agronomists and regulators, this first Summit will enable dialogue on application, product and market development, and aims to help move nutrient recycling towards identifying farmers needs and how secondary nutrients can be processed into forms with a market.

The programme is now complete, see

Speakers and participants registered to date include leading organic and organo-mineral fertiliser manufacturers (CEOs, agronomic or development directors), agronomic / fertiliser scientists, legal experts and the European Commission:

  • Fertikal, 4R Group, Biolan Oy, SoilFood Oy, SILC Fertilizzanti, Agaris, Mestoffen NL, Roullier, AgroPower Düngmittel, Biomasa Peninsular, Culterra, AgroAmerica, Benefert, Ferm-O-Feed, Sustane Natural Fertiliser Inc, Rothamsted, ADAS, Wageningen, Yara, CSIC Spain, UNIFA, ECOFI, Eurofema, GME, Fertilizers Europe, ECN, AFAIA, N2-Applied, Incover, Humintrade Srl, DG GROW …

Stands for R&D projects are possible at 900€. Also enables contacts with delegates at the parallel IFS (International Fertiliser Society) conference. Contact

Registration for SOFIE:

All up to date information and draft programme can be found at

SOFIE2019 logo

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

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Earlier SCOPE editions

In this SCOPE Newsletter:

  • Review papers on new fertilisers
  • State of science on sewage biosolids
  • Assessment of biosolids on farmland
  • P-removal technology trials results published
  • IFS Conference: leading science in sustainable farming
  • Calcium phosphate food additives and health
  • Phosphorus recycling technology tour
  • Summary of German and Swiss legislations relevant to phosphorus recycling

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

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Link to
Download as PDF

Upcoming events and calls for papers
Programme finalised for organic fertilisers summit
Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
Call for papers: resource recovery from waste water
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
EU Fertilisers Regulation
Commission call for comments on criteria for “by-products”
New EU Fertilisers Regulation finally adopted
Sewage biosolids and manure
EU SafeManure study update
Audit says US EPA not adequately risk assessing biosolids
Long-term plant availability of phosphorus from sewage biosolids
Long-term field test show benefits of organics
Science review on manure-based fertilisers phosphorus efficiency
Achieving demanding pollutant removal requirements in Sweden sewage works
R&D opportunities
Leibniz Phosphorus Campus Rostock opens 14 PhDs
Update on EU R&D funding and Horizon Europe
Regulation and policy
EU takes Cyprus, Italy, Greece and Slovenia to court on nutrients
EU Water Framework Directive compliance report concludes “very challenging”
US promotes nutrient recycling and water quality trading
UN identifies nitrogen cycle a key emerging environmental issue
Webinars and information
GWRC webcast and compendium on phosphorus recovery technologies
SPA video summaries of phosphorus research
Global Nutrient Management Toolbox
ESPP members
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Wim Debeuckelaere, European Commission (EC) DG Environment, has provided an update of the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) “SafeManure” study, which aims to define criteria for allowing certain nitrogen fertilisers derived (wholly or partly) from manure to be not treated as ‘processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive (see ESPP eNews n°23). The study will include analysis and comparative testing of different fertilisers recovered from nutrients (identified to date: 86 materials from 7 sites in Italy, 11 in the Netherlands and 1 in Denmark, covering raw manure, solid/liquid fractions, digestate, reverse osmosis/mineral concentrates and nitrogen salts recovered from stripping). A review of existing literature has identified (to date) less than 20 relevant studies or reports, noting in particular a lack of data concerning the composition of processed manure products, nitrogen release kinetics, environmental and health issues and a lack of experimental evidence comparing nitrogen leaching or plant fertiliser effectiveness of recycled nutrient products to mineral fertilisers. In particular, comparative trials are lacking for recovered nitrogen salts and struvite. ESPP suggests that this is unsurprising: there is no reason to compare e.g. recovered ammonium sulphate with synthetic ammonium sulphate because it is the same chemical, and the many published tests on struvite do not look at the nitrogen release because struvite is a phosphate fertiliser. The project planning anticipates biogeochemical modelling and pot trials in Spring 2019, field tests in Spring and Autumn 2019 and a draft report and stakeholder workshop and 2019/early 2020.

Input of further data, existing studies and reports or material analysis are welcome. The full list of studies already submitted to and analysed by JRC is at DG ENVI slides, BioRefine ESNI conference Brussels 22 January

The European Commission has circulated a call for input (from members of the EU Fertilisers Working Group) on “criteria on agronomic efficiency and safety for by-products”, that is “for the use of by-products as fertilising products” under the new EU Fertilisers Regulation. The new Regulation specifies that the Commission must adopt a ‘delegated act’ fixing these criteria within three years. This call for comments is the first stage of input to this process. A two and a half page document by the European Commission, open to comment until 19th April 2019, recalls the definition of by-products in the Waste Framework Directive and reminds that under the new Fertilisers Regulation by-products can (under certain conditions) be used directly in fertilisers (the by-product is itself a ‘CMC’) or be reacted with other materials before use (the product resulting from the reaction is the ‘CMC’). The document poses the following questions: safety or agronomic criteria or specific restrictions for by-products used in fertilising products in national regulations, list of authorised by-products for use in fertilising products (including origin industries), which by-products are currently used (and market size, nutrient content or other function …), application of the Waste Framework Directive.

European Commission call for input on future “Criteria on agronomic efficiency and safety for by-products” under the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation

Please send as soon as possible any relevant information or documents, which we can use in our response to this call for input, to ESPP

The European Parliament has concluded the legislative adoption of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation, by validating the “trilogue” compromise text in a plenary vote on 27th March. This new Regulation will open the European market for recycled nutrient products, and also for nutrient recycling technologies. It covers organic, organo-mineral and mineral fertilisers, composts, digestates, food industry by-products, as well as other products such as liming materials and fertiliser polymers. Because this is a ‘Regulation’, it will be applicable across Europe without requiring Member State transposition. However, it will only be fully applicable three years after publication, to allow time for implementation. After that date, any EU Fertilising Product can be sold in any EU country. Member States will also have the continuing possibility to authorise other products in their country as ‘national’ fertilisers. A ‘clean’ version of the final EU Fertilisers Regulation text is not yet available, but the adopted version can be consulted here. The adopted text does not cover struvite and recovered phosphate salts, ashes and ash-derived products, nor biochars / pyrolysis materials. These should be added to the Regulation after adoption by the European Commission, logically as proposed in the JRC STRUBIAS (final report not yet published).

Final ‘trilogue’ agreed text:
Final text adopted by European Parliament 27th March 2019 (NOTE: it is our understanding that these two texts should be the same, but the layout is different)

More than 50 companies, organisations and scientifists have signed a statement to support the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The proposed tool would ensure that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation, using either an “app” developed and provided by the EU or other compatible existing national or private tools. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient calculation in place. ESPP has communicated the position to relevant MEPs (European Parliament) and Council (Member States).

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients)

Online “demonstrator”

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25

European Commission proposal for new CAP

Position supporting the FaST proposal

ESPP made input to the public consultation on the EU Ecolabel scheme suggesting that Ecolabels be developed for fertilising products (fertilisers, soil improvers, biostimulants ..), in coherence with the new EH Fertilising Products Regulation. ESPP also supported application of the Ecolabel to the food & beverage sector (because of its footprint on phosphorus use and losses).

EU public consultation on EU Ecolabel scheme to 3rd March 2019:

ESPP is collecting support for maintaining the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The objective is to demonstrate science and industry support for this initiative, which will ensure and facilitate that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient balance calculation in place. The Commission’s FaST proposal includes development of a smart phone tool, made available to farmers, which will provide information on applicable regulations and enable entry of nutrient data, field by field. Member States and farmers will also be free to use other existing tools to enter their nutrient balance, subject to reporting compatibility (e.g. national nutrient balance systems, farm advisory service tools …). ESPP is asking the European Parliament and Member States to maintain the FaST nutrient tool in the new CAP as a mandatory condition for all farmers receiving EU subsidies. Organisation wishing to support this, please sign the joint statement available at (under “Common Agricultural Policy” and send to , including name of your organisation, logo of organisation, and name and email of person to be included as contact.

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients) and online “demonstrator”

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25

European Commission proposal for new CAP

SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe
Organised by ESPP in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society)

Brussels, Belgium (within walking distance of Gare du Midi and Gare Centrale)
Wednesday 5th 14h00 – Thursday 6th June 16h30

All up to date information and draft programme can be found at

SOFIE2019 logo

SOFIE 2019 takes place back to the IFS Technical Conference 4th June lunch – 5th June lunch


Please register via this link:

The key target for this conference is industry, that is manufacturers, distributors and importers of organic fertilising products, although speakers will include leading agronomists and regulators. The registration fee structure is therefore fixed as follows (inclusive of VAT, includes networking light dinner cocktail after the conference 5th June and lunch 6th June)

  • Special industry rate = 185 €
    Reserved for SMEs and farmers cooperatives producing or distributing organic fertilisers
  • Reduced price = 125€
    Reserved for Members of ESPP or of IFS, paying registrants at IFS Technical Conference
  • Standard registration = 450 €

Stands (industry, research, other selected organisations which are partners of SOFIE …):
900 € inc. VAT (-50% for ESPP members)

Proposals for speakers or stands are welcome


SOFIE2019 logoIFS logo epss logo narrow

ICL Fertilizers, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies and a founding member of ESPP, is organising an official opening event for phosphate recycling installations at their Amsterdam mineral fertiliser factory, March 7th 2019. The installation will enable use of bone meal ash and sewage sludge incineration ash as raw materials in commercial phosphate fertiliser production. Speakers will include the North Holland Province, which provided financial support to this project, and the Chair of the Netherlands chemicals industry federation VCNI.

To participate:

The European Commission JRC has renewed a call for study data or publications concerning the agronomic effects of processed manure or fertiliser products recycled from manure. This is part of the DG ENVI “SafeManure” study addressing application limits for recycled fertilisers produced from manure (“processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive). The data must include experimental data (pot or field trials, leaching tests … not only review) comparing processed manure / manure recycled product to mineral fertiliser and to a control.

JRC is interested in any nitrogen-containing material recovered from or processed from any type of animal manure, slurry or litter, with manure only as input material or manure mixed with other materials (minimum c. 10% manure): including e.g. mineral products recovered from manure processing (such as struvite or other precipitated salts containing nitrogen, ammonium salts recovered from biogas …), “mineral concentrates” (from membrane separation), digestate, compost, dried - pelletised – or limed manure or similar, manure ashes / processed ashes, biochars / pyrolysis materials, etc.

Data should address, in conditions relevant for Europe, one or more of the following: nitrogen plant uptake / efficiency / impact on crop yield, and/or nitrogen leaching. For e.g. struvite, data should enable to relate crop yield to nitrogen application (not only to phosphorus). The objective is to compare the agronomic performance and/or potential environmental impacts of the nitrogen present in the processed manure materials to those of mineral nitrogen fertilisers. The mineral fertilisers compared may be the same as the recovered product (e.g. comparison of ammonium sulphate from digester gas stripping with synthetic ammonium sulphate) or may be different (e.g. comparison of synthetic urea with dried manure). Information provided should be in English or and English summary/translation must be provided (e.g. summary and translation of headers of data tables). Full pdfs of literature should be provided.

You can check a list of studies already received by JRC at (under “SafeManure documents”), indicating which studies have been assessed to be useable (24 to date) and which have been rejected (and why).

Please send any relevant data by 10th February 2019 to: (unless data is confidential) and we will forward to the European Commission (JRC).

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

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Upcoming events
1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE) 5-6 June 2019, Brussels
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
Consultations and calls for information
Join the initiative to support the farm nutrient balance tool proposal (FaST) !
EU JRC call for data and publications on recycled manure products
EU consultation on circular product policy
EU consultation open on water policy
Call for EU Focus Group members – soil contamination
Diet and health
Scientists claim that diet phosphorus may make us “lazy” and inactive
EAT-Lancet Commission launches “Food Planet Health” report
EU Fertilisers Regulation approved by Member States
Standard for declaration of Critical Raw Materials in electrical equipment
Recycled phosphorus from manures
European Commission finds pharmaceuticals in manures
Summaries of manure nutrient recovery technologies
Research and implementation
Effectiveness of a buffer strip in reducing phosphorus runoff
Austrian expert report on sewage and animal by-product phosphorus recycling
Suez Phosgreen struvite recovery, Mulhouse, France
New methods for real-time analysis of crop phosphorus need
Natural iron minerals tested as constructed wetlands substrate
EU science advisory committee report on microplastics
Nutrient use efficiency identified as agricultural research priority
ESPP Members
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The European Commission is calling for experts to participate in an EIP-AGRI Focus Group on “Protecting agricultural soils from contamination”. Focus Groups are coordinated by the European Commission over 1-2 years to collate information, define research needs (input to EU R&D funding programmes) and propose themes for EU Rural Development Funding agriculture ‘Operational Groups’. The Focus Group will address contamination of agricultural soils across Europe, including industrial and consumer chemicals and waste disposal, and consider risks of uptake by crops and livestock, and so possible human health threats. The Focus Group aims to identify innovative farm management methods and best practices to prevent and remedy soil contamination. Candidature for the Focus Group is open until Monday 11th February 2019. Experts must submit CV and motivation.

EU EIP-AGRI call for experts to participate in Focus Group on “Protecting agricultural soils from contamination” – open to 11th February 2019. Applicant experts can include farmers, farm advisers, socio-economic experts, and operators with practical experience.

Organised for the organic* fertilisers industry across Europe by ESPP, in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society), SOFIE will address:
- The agronomic science behind claims of organic fertilisers concerning nutrients, soil health and environment
- Industry and market perspectives, including quality, innovation and export opportunities
- Circular Economy
- European regulatory challenges, especially the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation (with the European Commission)

The SOFIE organic fertilisers summit will back-to-back to the IFS technical conference (International Fertiliser Society) 4th – 5th June

This is the first ever European conference for the organic fertilisers industry, and will facilitate networking across Europe of organic fertiliser producers (including composts, digestates, biochars …), organic waste processors / recyclers, fertiliser distributors and experts and advisors to these industries, including applied agronomists, agricultural outreach services, regulators, etc.

The programme is currently under finalisation. Companies interested in a stand to present their products / services, and experts interested to speak, etc. please contact


* note: “Organic Fertilisers” here refers to nutrient products containing organic carbon, not to organic ‘non chemical’ farming.

ESPP proposes to support the European Commission’s proposal that all farmers should inform a nutrient balance (inputs in fertilisers, crop remains, other amendments; offtakes in crops), included in the proposals for the new CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) as FaST - Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients. Some regions already have such systems, but others do not: for example, only around half of United Kingdom farmers have in place a nutrient balance (Achim Dobermann, Rothamsted, IFS Conference, 6/12/18). The Commission’s FaST proposal includes development of a smart phone tool, made available to farmers, which will provide information on applicable regulations and enable entry of nutrient data, field by field, as well as enabling coherent data reporting. Member States and farmers will also be able to use other existing tools to enter their nutrient balance, subject to reporting compatibility. ESPP is asking the European Parliament and Member States to maintain the FaST nutrient tool in the new CAP as a mandatory condition for farmers receiving EU subsidies. Stakeholders wishing to support this position are invited to contact ESPP.

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients)

ESPP organised a one day dialogue meeting between scientists, stakeholders and ESPP members and partners on questions around the use of sewage biosolids in agriculture. This will be presented in detail in a future SCOPE Newsletter. In conclusion, it is clear that different stakeholders, industries and countries have widely varying positions. On the one hand, there are concerns about the proven presence of different contaminants, which the “precautionary principle” suggests to not disseminate. However, there seems to be no evidence that these contaminants pose significant risk to health or to the environment where sewage biosolids are appropriately managed (this should include monitoring zinc and copper, and limiting spreading as a function of their levels if necessary). Accumulation of contaminants or leaching to groundwater should also be avoided, including heavy metals, organic contaminants and microplastics. On the other hand, agricultural valorisation of sewage biosolids offers benefits: recycling of phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients; return of carbon to soil, and is cost-effective for both taxpayers and farmers.

Technical phosphorus recovery processes enable recycling of phosphorus without release of contaminants to the environment, so ensuring depollution and safety. Most participants however agreed that there is no one best solution: different options for sewage biosolids management fit different local contexts. Thermal valorisation responds to the needs of regions with low agricultural demand, for example densely urban areas and regions with significant supply of animal manures. In countries with high agricultural demand, farmland application of biosolids under strict quality control conditions can enable nutrient and organic carbon recycling.

Anaerobic digestion of sewage biosolids is effective for energy recovery, as well as sanitising and stabilising sewage sludge, and some phosphorus recovery processes, such as struvite precipitation, are compatible with both thermal sludge valorisation or agronomic application of biosolids organic content. Many of the contaminants which currently generate concerns in sewage sludge are also found in animal manures and other organic secondary materials (in particular pharmaceuticals and antibiotic resistance genes). Further research and monitoring are strongly needed, including into improving organic contaminants removal in biosolids treatment, optimisation of energy recovery, and development and implementation of nutrient recovery processes. In all cases, the priority should be reduction at source and preventing that contaminants enter municipal sewage.

It was underlined that a strong point of ESPP is to bring together in dialogue a heterogeneous range of industries and stakeholders. ESPP should not promote a particular route or technologies for sewage biosolids management and phosphorus recycling, but should promote the advantages of different approaches appropriate to different regional contexts, subject in all cases to quality control, transparency and to effective nutrient recycling.

Meeting presentation slides are available (soon) at

The European Standards Organisation (CEN/CENELEC) has circulated the final report of the NEN/BTWG11 working group into standards needs for sustainable chemicals for the Circular Economy. ESPP has followed this work. Although nutrients are partly ‘excluded’ because already covered by the new EU Fertilisers Regulation proposal, the report does cover cycling of biomass by recycling or by degradation to produce nutrients to feed new biomass production. Recommendations for standards needs include the need to develop “Standardised methodology for calculating recycled content” (following proposal of ESPP amongst others) and a “Standard with criteria on properties of relevance for End-of-Waste, such as thresholds of contaminants”. Other recommendations include research into identification of product additives which hamper recycling and establishment at CEN/CENELEC of a mechanism to identify standards that exclude recycled materials. ESPP commented during the report development process that Critical Raw Materials are not well taken into account, but CEN considered this to be “out of scope” of this report. CEN however notes that the Ecodesign Mandate M/543 includes two relevant standards projects: prEN 45557 ‘General method for assessing the proportion of recycled material content in energy related products’ and prEN 45558 ‘General method to declare the use of critical raw materials in energy related products’. ESPP regrets that CEN did not finally recommend to widen the latter to other product types. Also, prEN 45558 only addresses the content of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) actually present in products, and does not consider ‘indirect’ CRM consumption (used upstream in the production chain, but not longer present in the final product).

CEN prEN 45557 and prEN 45558 proposals of 2017 submitted to final vote 28/12/2018 Draft texts available here and here
CEN-CLC/BTWG 11 'Sustainable Chemicals'

The trilogue agreement on the EU Fertilisers Regulation was approved by Member States’ representatives in Council on 12th December. It now goes to formal validation by the European Parliament and Council, before publication. ESPP understands that trilogue fixed then a three year implementation period before entry into force. The European Commission press release underlines that ‘national’ fertilisers and mutual recognition of these will continue after implementation of the new Regulation, so offering two different possible routes for producers and farmers. The Commission estimate that 30% of mineral phosphate fertilisers in Europe could be replaced by phosphorus recycling. According to our information, the agreement reached maintains the Commission mandate to modify the annexes of the new Regulation by ‘comitology’. This means that the STRUBIAS materials (recovered phosphate salts, ash based materials, biochars) can be added into the Regulation rapidly after its adoption. The JRC final STRUBIAS report proposing criteria is expected end 2018, then the Commission will hopefully rapidly consult Committees and write into a modification of Annex II (CMCs).

European Commission press release “Circular Economy: Agreement on Commission proposal to boost the use of organic and waste-based fertilisers” IP/18/6161
Council press release

Text of regulation with changes, as agreed in trilogue

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