Innovation: REFERTIL: Improvement of comprehensive bio-waste transformation and nutrient recovery treatment processes for production of combined natural products

Last update: 26.07.2013
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Keywords: 
biochar, compost, biotechnology, waste, recycling, phosphorus, plant nutrition, sustainable development, agriculture, biomass
The objective driven goal of this SME targeted proposal is to improve the currently used compost and biochar treatment systems, towards advanced, efficient and comprehensive bio-waste treatment and nutrient recovery process with zero emission performance.

The improved output products are safe, economical, ecological and standardized compost and bio-char combined natural fertilizers and soil amendment agricultural products used by farmers.

The added value and energy efficient transformation of urban organic waste, farm organic residues and food industrial by-product streams made by improved carbonization, biotechnological formulation and upgraded composting technologies, with particular attention to the recovery of nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen.

The targeted high quality output products aiming to reduce mineral fertilizers and intensive chemicals use in agriculture; enhancing the environmental, ecological and economical sustainability of food crop production; reducing the negative footprint of the cities and overall contributing to climate change mitigation. In this context the improved bio-waste treatment process opens new technical, economical, environmental and social improvement opportunities, while improving the use, effectiveness and safety of the resulting compost and bio-char products in agriculture.

The output products developed in a standardized way to meet all industrial, agricultural and environmental norms and stands in European dimension. Proactive and coherently integrated cooperation made between multi level stakeholders in Europe, with result oriented potential benefit to SMEs and farmers for more efficient utilization of the final products by the end-users. The proposal providing strong support for policy makers for the revision of relevant policies, while setting up future common bio-waste recycling targets, common quality standard requirements for bio-waste treatment, compost and bio-char quality and trading requirements.

PROJECT GOALS:

The REFERTIL is an application and SME end-user farmer oriented science and technology development project contributing to the cost efficient transformation of the organic waste streams from the agriculture and food industry.

The key objectives of the REFERTIL project are to improve the currently used compost treatment systems and develop zero emission performance biochar industrial production technologies towards safe and economical nutrient recovery process.

Beyond the industrial compost and stabile carbon based biochar technology development, the REFERTIL project provides a strong legislation support to the European Commission for the new EU28 fertiliser regulation, and standardization of the compost/biochar technologies and safe products.
Around 40% of the EU-28s land area is farmed, highlighting the importance of farming for the EUs natural environment. The links between the natural environment and farming practice are complex. Intensive farming practice and human activities have disturbed the natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus. It is estimated that human activity has doubled the global amount of reactive Nitrogen in circulation; while tripled the amount of phosphorus since the industrial revolution.

Industrial agriculture relies on the continuous input of mined and non renewable Phosphorus and energy-intensive Nitrogen supply. Nitrogenous fertilizers require large amounts of energy and ultimately cause greenhouse gas emissions.The nitrogen fertilizer industry is the EUs biggest single industrial user of natural gas. Natural gas is an essential raw matterial for fertiliser production as well as providing the energy to drive the production process. It is represents 60-80% of its total production costs.

Reserves of the phosphate rock PR used to make such fertilizers are finite, and concerns have been raised that they are in danger of exhaustion. It has been argued, for example, that data from the US Geological Survey point to the available low Cadmium/Uranium content PR supplies peaking in as little as 25 years time. Because there is no substitute for phosphate in agriculture, this might present an urgent and substantial problem.

The food industrial system today is primarily linear , with “Take-Make-Waste” processes and costly/polluting long distance transport systems, which linear system is highly inefficient and is not sustainable any-more. The linear system is not only inefficient and costly, but these linear outputs products often contain persistent or toxic materials that negatively impact the environment, and resulting high costs for post life management.

There is a strong need for increased sustainability and closing the nutrient loop in agriculture with the creation of a virtuous cycle between urban and rural areas. In this context, reducing the use of mineral fertilisers and chemicals in agriculture are key priority objectives that can be achieved by recycling and reusing of treated organic waste as compost and biochar products.

REFERTIL has the mission to contribute to the transformation of urban organic waste, food industrial by-products and farm organic residues from a costly disposal process into an income generating activity. This includes an EU-28 standardised, advanced, and comprehensive bio-waste treatment and nutrient recovery process towards zero emission performance. The improved output products will be safe, economical and standardised compost and biochar products containing phosphorous and nitrogen that can be economically and beneficially used by farmers. As a result, both food and environmental safety is improved, while a new economy is generated.

The targeted high quality output products aiming to reduce mineral fertilisers and intensive chemicals use in agriculture; enhancing the environmental, ecological and economical sustainability of food crop production; reducing the negative footprint of the cities and contributing to climate change mitigation. The output products are targeted to develop in a standardized way to meet all industrial, agricultural and environmental norms and standards in European dimension.
The expected results of the 4 years REFERTIL project is the development an EU27 standardized advanced and comprehensive bio-waste treatment and nutrient recovery process with zero emission performance, resulting a virtuous nutrient cycle, and economical,
EU28 standardized compost and bio-char combined natural fertilizers and soil amendment agricultural products.

Although the four years project is in year two only, highly promising results achieved. In year 1 detailed analytical assessment of EU27 input organic waste materials has been done, industrial technology and economical application options evaluated. In 2013/2014 extensive field trials with selected biochar and compost products are in progress. Concerning biochar/compost production, environmental, technical, legislative, cost efficiently, benefit and risk evaluation, SWOT analysis of the available biochar producing technologies and materials made. Set up a detailed BIOCHAR technology and product matrix database for analysing and ranking of the available recycling technologies for production of biochar made. Dissemination and transparent visibility programmes started up and actively on progress, especially towards EU wide SME stakeholders.
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3r Pyrolysis Plant
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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: REFERTIL: Improvement of comprehensive bio-waste transformation and nutrient recovery treatment processes for production of combined natural products

Acronym: 
REFERTIL

Runtime: 
01.10.2011 to 30.09.2015

Status: 
on-going project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

TERRA HUMANA TISZTA TECHNOLOGIAKAT FEJLESZTO TERVEZO ES KIVITELEZO KFT

(Hungary)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Mr. SOMEUS Edward

Website: http://www.3ragrocarbon.com

Phone: +36-202017557

Contact

AARHUS UNIVERSITET

Field: Agriculture, Education (Denmark)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. ELSGAARD Lars

Website: http://www.au.dk

BIOMASA DEL GUADALQUIVIR SA

Field: Agriculture (Spain)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Ms. GONZÁLEZ GRANADOS Inmaculada

Website: http://www.bpeninsular.com

COMUNE DI GRUGLIASCO

(Italy)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. LA TORRE Giovanna

Website: http://www.comune.grugliasco.it

GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER

Field: Scientific research and development, Education (Germany)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. VON ALTEN Henning

Website: http://www.uni-hannover.de

KOTO PROIZVODNO IN TRGOVSKO PODJETJE DOO

Field: Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities (Slovenia)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Ms. LAVRIC Lea

Website: http://www.koto.si

PROFIKOMP KORNYEZETTECHNIKA KORNYEZETVEDELMI, KERESKEDELMI ES SZOLGALTATO ZARTKORUEN MUKODO RT

Field: Agriculture, Scientific research and development (Hungary)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. ALEXA Laszlo

Website: http://www.profikomp.hu

RENETECH BIORESOURCES LIMITED

Field: Agriculture (Ireland)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. WALSH Tom

Website: http://www.renetech.net

STICHTING DIENST LANDBOUWKUNDIG ONDERZOEK

Field: Agriculture, Scientific research and development (Netherlands)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. POSTMA Joeke

Website: http://www.pri.wur.nl

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TORINO

Field: Agriculture, Scientific research and development, Education (Italy)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Prof. GULLINO Maria Lodovica

Website: http://www.unito.it

VIDENCENTRET FOR LANDBRUG

Field: Agriculture (Denmark)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Mr. HUUS-BRUUN Torben

Website: http://www.vfl.dk/

WESSLING HUNGARY KFT

Field: Other service activities (Hungary)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. HANTOSI Zsolt

Website: http://www.wessling.hu