Netherlands Member of the European Parliament, Jan Huitema’s, text calls on the European Commission to revise the EU Fertiliser Regulation , remove barriers in the Nitrates Directive and implement special rural development programmes to stimulate the recycling of nutrients as mineral concentrates from animal manure. This was voted in April 2016 by a large majority of the Parliament Agriculture Committee, in Mr Huitema’s report on innovation and economic development in European farm management (2015/2227). The voted text notes concern that the EU is highly dependent on the import of minerals for fertilisers and the possibility to recover nutrients from animal manures to produce ‘green fertilisers’. Mr Huitema’s website notes that mineral concentrates from manures can make a major contribution to the circular economy, are good for the environment, and avoid natural gas consumption and mineral import for fertiliser manufacture. ESPP note: the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision proposals published 18th March and open to consultation (see SCOPE Newsletter 120) cover digestate and compost produced from manure, but phosphate minerals recovered from manure are not covered (work on struvite is underway) and nitrogen concentrates or chemicals recovered from manure are not yet taken into account. The Nitrates Directive issues with nitrogen minerals recovered from manures are discussed in SCOPE Newsletter 100.
Jan Huitema website “Huitema’s initiative for green fertiliser widely supported”
European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development “Draft report on enhancing innovation and economic development in future European farm management”, Rapporteur Jan Huitema, 2015/2227(INI), vote in Committee 21st April 2016
Using this FUSIONS study ESPP estimates 130,000 ton phosphorus in annual EU food waste, equal to 6% of net P imports. More details in this SCOPE Newsletter article.
Norwegian Environment Protection Agency (EPA) proposes how to move forward national phosphorus recycling.
More details in this SCOPE Newsletter article.
The US EPA has published the names of the ten technologies awarded in the manure Nutrient Recycling Challenge, selected from the 75 entries received. ESPP’s SCOPE Newsletter publishes details of these technologies and links to their websites. The awarded technologies cover manure digestion, chemical treatment, separation, stripping. See SCOPE article here.
Ecophos (Aliphos) has started construction of its 75 million Euros plant to produce animal feed grade calcium phosphates from secondary materials and low-grade phosphate rock, in Mardyck, near Dunkerque France. Ecophos has also announced the formal inauguration of its industrial demonstration plant in Varna, Bulgaria, in September, with production starting there in June. More details in SCOPE 120.
ICL (Israel Chemicals Ltd), already a frontrunner in recycling secondary materials into phosphate fertiliser, has acquired the RecoPhos technology (from SGCL Carbon GmbH). This thermal induction process, already tested at pilot scale, produces white phosphorus (P4) from waste materials such as ashes, and potentially sludges. More details in SCOPE 120.
ESPP response to EU consultation on preparation of Horizon2020 WP 2018-2020 on Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials - 8-4-2016
The input of ESPP can be found here.
The RISE Foundation launched a study on Nutrient Recovery and Reuse (NRR) in European agriculture. A review of the issues, opportunities, and actions. The report makes a thorough revision of the use of nitrogen and phosphorus in European agriculture and assesses the scope for increased nutrient recovery and reuse and the actions needed to make it possible.
The Foundation's Chairman, and former European Commissioner for Science and Research and the Environment, Janez Potocnik said that "In the coming years we will have to change the current resource intensive economic model to address global and European food and environmental security. The growing leakage of nutrients into the environment is an unwanted consequence of our current system that deserves immediate attention."
More information and the report can be found at http://www.risefoundation.eu/projects/nrr
ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform) SCOPE Newsletter ( see on www.phosphorusplatform.eu ) is a recognised source of synthetic information about nutrient management and recycling, circulated to c. 45 000 emails* (companies, scientists, decision makers …). Published 8-10 issues per year, with over 100 back-numbers online, it has become the reference source of information on phosphorus management. * 5 – 6 000 identified opens for each Newsletter, plus online reading …
Opportunity for recognition, visibility and networking
ESPP is looking for R&D institutes, projects or other experts interested in providing a regular content input (articles) for SCOPE Newsletter, in exchange for:
This is an interesting opportunity for your organisation to obtain visibility as expert and recognised knowledge provider for a theme area in nutrient management, and to develop a high-level network in this area.
Service to deliver
Your institute would commit to deliver 4-8 articles per year for SCOPE Newsletter. In the style of the current SCOPE Newsletter, articles are 1 to c. 3 page summaries of scientific publications, reports, conferences … with the aim of providing a technically accurate but readily accessible summary.
The objective is not to “advertise” your own activities, but to provide an up-to-date summary of leading publications and information from across the world.
Your role would be, under coordination of the ESPP Secretariat and Board responsible for editorial control of the SCOPE Newsletter, to select publications for summary based on permanent monitoring, to prepare the summary articles, and to contact authors to verify the text with them before publication, so developing new network contacts.
You can also propose SCOPE Newsletter articles 1-2 times per year providing an overview of developments in a specific area, as a function of new emphasis of scientific publications and other interests, or based on key conferences relevant to the area.
Reliability and commitment
ESPP’s objective is to establish lasting partnerships with organisations, to enable follow-up of SCOPE Newsletter content, and to enable you to develop expertise and network.
Experience in the past shows that this can function if and only if your institute can make appropriate personnel time available for this work, usually if the content corresponds closely to your internal development activities and/or if specific funding or resources can be dedicated, for example through a funded R&D project or work programme. Research students or similar time can be effective, but only if competent permanent staff time is also clearly budgeted/available to ensure quality, delivery, consistency over time.
Call for proposals
ESPP is calling for proposals for potential Partners for SCOPE Newsletter content, with objective to select 5-8 Partnerships to start by mid 2016.
Possible themes could include the following – your proposals are welcome to better define themes to fit your areas of interest and competence:
To be selected as an ESPP SCOPE Newsletter Partner, please send a proposal of maximum 4 pages (using size 11 point characters) explaining:
20 April, Helsinki, Finland.
The objective of the international seminar is to present initiatives that enhance the recycling of nutrients in manure and wastewater sludge, in the context of the bio-circular economy. The seminar gives an overview of political and administrative measures and presents success stories in nutrient recycling from various parts of Europe. It brings together businesses, research, administration and NGOs to finding new solutions to nutrient recycling. At the event we also have a Forum of Solutions where you may hear the views of companies and project actors on experiments with nutrient recycling and how these have succeeded.
The seminar has been organized by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Rural Network Support Unit of Finland, EU Baltic Sea Strategy and European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform.
This international seminar is linked to a national event on 19th April (same venue, in Finnish) presenting the new Finland circular economy programme and funding opportunities. All participants are invited to a networking buffet 19th April evening, which will be held in the Forum of Solutions stands area, enabling to meet Finnish and international companies and stakeholders.
Registration now open and program online.
You can present your experiments and experiences in nutrient cycling on the Forum of Solutions
13 - 15 March, Marriott Rive, Paris, France.
The only global event for the fertilizer, industrial and feed phosphate markets.
Switzerland will as first country in the world make phosphorus recovery and recycling from sewage sludge and slaughterhouse waste obligatory. The new regulation (see also SCOPE Nr. 105 and Nr. 108) will enter into force on the 1.1.2016 with a transition period of 10 years. Switzerland banned direct use of sewage sludge on land in 2006, so the regulation will lead to technical recovery and recycling in the form of inorganic products. Swiss sludge and slaughterhouse waste together represent an annual flow of 9100 t of phosphorus whereas technical recycling from the wastewater stream in Europe today totals of around 1000 t of phosphorus in the form of struvite. In an implementation guide details such as required efficiency of the recovery process and plant availability of fertilizer is to be defined in collaboration with Swiss stakeholders.
Italmatch Chemicals, ESPP member, project for more sustainable phosphorus chemistry has been approved by the EU LIFE programme. The LIFE TRIALKYL project will demonstrate more sustainable and efficient production of phosphorus compounds used in a range of applications, including crop protection, fire safety, plastics, childcare products and pharmaceuticals. The new process will avoid toxic chemical intermediaries and byproducts (e.g. tertiary amines, phenol derivatives) and will not produce contaminated wastewater because water use is largely avoided (640 000 litres/year of water saved). It will also use less energy and generate ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) as a by-product, which can be recycled in other sectors such as agriculture.
“Italmatch takes part in LIFE, the European Community program dedicated to sustainable development”
Greece was fined 10 million € in October plus 20 000 € per day for failing to install adequate sewage collection and treatment in 6 areas (agglomerations > 15 000 pe), as required by the 1991 Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 1991/271. The daily fine will run until compliance is achieved, depending on the number of areas still not in conformity. The European Commission has now asked for an additional 16 million € plus 35 000 € per day fine for failure to collect and treat sewage discharged into the Gulf of Elefsina, in the area of Thriasio Pedio. Greece was already condemned by the European Court of Justice for this same area in 2004 and the Commission notes that still today only 28% of sewage is collected and treated. Poland has also received a ‘final warning’ from the European Commission for failure to implement the EU Water Framework Directive 2000/2000, including failure to classify water bodies, large scale works carried out on rivers and unjustified exemptions to Good Quality Status objectives.
European Commission 19/11/2015 “Commission proposes fines and refers GREECE back to the Court of Justice of the EU over persistent poor waste water treatment. Greece facing fines over lack of urban waste water treatment”
European Court of Justice, case C-167/14, 15/11/2015 “Because of its delay in implementing the directive on urban waste water treatment, Greece is ordered to pay a fixed sum of €10 million and a periodic fine of €3.64 million per semester of delay”
ESPP’s General Assembly will take place in Brussels on 2nd December 2015, with in the morning a discussion on policies, tools and actions to develop the circular economy for bio-nutrients. To participate, contact ESPP
The European Commission (DG GROW) has published a decision rejecting Sweden’s request to restrict cadmium (Cd) in artists’ paints. Artists’ paints represent up to 10% of cadmium in sewage sludge, whereas less hazardous pigments are available and already on the market. Read more
On October 1-2, 2015 an international workshop on Technospheric Mining was held at the Technical University Vienna (TU Wien). Chris Thornton presented the current situation on sustainable phosphorus management in Europe and outlined the progress of EU policies.
He highlighted the recent key development of the proposed EU Circular Economy policy. It is estimated that a circular economy system for food production could cut Europe’s food cost per person by 30%. Bio-nutrients were identified as a priority sector for EU Circular Economy policy by a quarter of respondents to the EU’s 2015 public consultation. ESPP is actively involved in this process, fostering stakeholder input to policy development.
In 2014 phosphate rock was added to the EU List of Critical Raw Materials. Currently there is an updated assessment underway. Chris Thornton pointed out that the assessment should consider not only “phosphate rock”, but also phosphorus in all forms (P) in order to address bio-nutrients and recycling, and also specific forms of phosphorus, in particular White Phosphorus (P4) which is critical for strategic industries (chemicals, fire safety, electronics) and is no longer produced in Europe (100% technological import dependency).
ESPP and its partners are directly involved in a range of current EU regulatory and policy processes:
Download here the full conference paper
Find here all presentations to download
The Dutch Parliament has announced to have a general meeting about the Circular Economy on the 17th of December. The meeting is a response to the letter sent by the Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment of the Netherlands to the Dutch Parliament addressing the question of phosphorus recycling. This letter resulted from input from the Netherlands Nutrient Platform, presenting the progress made in the Netherlands since the launch of the Phosphorus Value Chain Agreement of 2011 and outlining the challenges for the future. The Dutch Nutrient Platform underlines to the Parliament that we are not yet finished with phosphorus and that it’s important to keep the topic high on the agenda.
For more information you can contact the Dutch Nutrient Platform at or visit the website www.nutrientplatform.org
New ISP standard for sustainability criteria for bioenergy production (15/9/2015) recognises importance of nutrients and phosphorus:
Find mor details on the iso website.
Phosphorus recycling: ESPP publishes information note on regulatory status of recovered struvite (REACH, Fertiliser Regulation, End-of-Waste).
During the 2nd European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference, Berlin, 7th March 2015 the regulatory status of recovered struvite was discussed between a number of struvite producing companies.
After consultation of companies and stakeholders, ESPP has proposed outline criteria for using different biomass combustion ashes as fertilisers or input raw materials for fertiliser production. This document has been transmitted to the European Commission for consideration in the current EU Fertiliser Regulation revision process. The document proposes safety and agronomic criteria, for different biomass combustion inputs and processes, covering in particular meat and bone meal ash (MBMA), poultry litter combustion ash, biomass renewable energy ash, sewage sludge and other sludge incineration ash. The proposed criteria can be downloaded here, comments are welcome.
ESPP has submitted, to the European Commission, proposed quality and safety criteria for (a) use of biomass ashes as a fertiliser or (b) as a raw material in fertiliser production. The proposed criteria, elaborated after concertation with ESPP members and partners, covers sewage sludge incineration ash (SSIA), poultry litter combustion ash, biomass energy ash, meat and bone meal ash (MBMA) and specific industry sector biomass ashes, in total over 600 000 tonnes P/year. Consideration. ESPP already proposed criteria for recovered struvite as a fertiliser, which have been transmitted to the EU’s JRC (Joint Research Centre) for consideration in the process of developing EU criteria with the objective of implementation in the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision (criteria for future CE label). The proposed criteria for ash cover input materials, combustion conditions, possible contaminants (heavy metals, dioxins …) and agronomic value of the ash. The document notes that poultry litter combustion ash and MBMA are already proven and used as fertilisers in Europe. ESPP welcomes comments on the proposed criteria.
The EU has published the Horizon 2020 (RTD funding) draft (not yet officially validated) work programme 2016-2017, including SC2 (societal challenge) covering food security, agriculture and forestry, marine and inland water and the bioeconomy. Food security in the context of resource scarcities, sustainability, territorial development and employment and growth in the bioeconomy are identified as priorities, emphasising stakeholder involvement. Several specific challenges directly refer to nutrient management:
The above specific (proposed) calls are in addition to horizontal funding such as SME instrument, thematic networks, on-farm demonstrations, or calls covering wider themes which also cover nutrient stewardship, such as “Resiliant and resource efficient value-chains” or “bio-based markets of the future”.
“Draft Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017 in the area of Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy”
ESPP, with support of the EU (DG GROW), is launching work to identify what data is needed on nutrient stocks and flows by industry, agriculture and decision makers, to support stewardship decisions, circular economy objectives and management actions, and how this data should be monitored.
This targets phosphorus (P), potassium (K), possibly other nutrients. Existing work is already underway on nitrogen, e.g. INI http://www.initrogen.org/europe - there are links and experience transfer, but duplication should be avoided.
To date, around 20 phosphorus flow studies have been published in different countries and regions of Europe (see below). However, the methodologies used, sectors covered (agriculture, industry, households etc. ), spatial scales and time-horizons are very variable so that results cannot be compared. Many regions have no useable phosphorus flow data. Data for other nutrients is even more scarce and disjoined. Where data is available, it is not readily accessible to stakeholders and is not orientated towards identifying points of possible effective action. Data is rarely updated, so following results of system changes or of impacts of nutrient management actions is not possible.
The need for improved knowledge of phosphorus flows was the first conclusion of the European Commission Consultative Communication on the Sustainable Use of Phosphorus (Staff Working Document SWD(2014)263final): “In terms of ascertaining the extent of phosphorus supply and demand, … the replies pointed to a need to increase the knowledge base.”
Phosphate rock is on the EU list of Critical Raw Materials and an MFA (materials flow analysis) is currently underway. The stakeholders meeting already confirmed the considerable insufficiencies of information currently available to input to this MFA. Now is therefore the time to start to complete the information base in preparation for the next MFA exercise planned in three years’ time (2017).
To launch this work, a workshop is organised in Ghent, 3-4 September 2015 (with Biorefine and Ghent University). This will look at both the gaps in scientific knowledge and methodology for nutrient flow analysis, the operational needs of industry actors and decision makers, and the capacity of data monitoring bodies.
The European Commission Investment Plan / European Investment Bank (EIB) has identified nutrient recycling and phosphorus management as a priority area for project funding. A first project has already achieved provisional approval, presented by COOPERL (Brittany, France, farmers’ cooperative).
The METHATRAC project combines new generation piggeries equipped with TRAC scraping process, anaerobic digestion of the manure with slaughterhouse waste and municipal sewage to produce biogas and processing of the digestate to a valuable agricultural fertiliser product.
The 16 million € project will treat over 38 000 tonnes of pig manure (110 000 pigs). 55% of manure nitrogen (490 tonnes N/year) and 90% of phosphorus (430 tonnes P/year) will be captured and recycled as fertiliser. 7.6 million m3/year of biogas will be generated. Process water will be purified and recycled (reverse osmosis).
The TRAC piggery system reduces nitrogen climate gas emissions, improves animal and worker welfare (reduced NH4) and facilitates manure treatment for nutrient recycling. 40 such installations are already operational in Brittany. 125 tonnes/year of NH3 volatisation will be avoided in the METHATRAC project piggeries and net emissions of nearly 28 000 tonnes CO2 saved.
This project will accelerate sustainability in Brittany’s specialist intensive agriculture. Already today Brittany's farmers process over 400 000 tonnes of manure per year (processed weight, 50 – 90% dry matter), producing organic fertilisers specifically adapted for different crop needs and transported to other regions of France. In total, Brittany’s 1 100 farms generate livestock manure containing around 200 000 tonnes of nitrogen (N) and 120 000 tonnes of phosphorus (P).
EU Investment Plan / EIB loans are available for high-risk, market ready private investments of significant scale (generally > 15 million €). Nutrient recycling is identified as a target area for new project funding.
EU Investment Plan http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/jobs-growth-investment/plan/index_en.htm
For information about possible nutrient recycling project funding loans under this plan, contact ESPP.