Bio-based FERtilising products as the best practice for agricultural management SusTainability
The B-FERST project seeks to make a significant contribution to addressing the challenges of delivering on the EU’s ambitions for sustainable agriculture. This shift will require the more-efficient use of existing resources in the farming and fertiliser sectors, improved sourcing, logistics and biochemical characterisation of biomass feedstocks and improvements to the quality and fertility of soils.
This project believes that the agriculture sector in Europe needs to shift from its current “production-income” approach, which is strongly reliant on commodities such as NPK-complex fertilisers and where waste generated is unused, to a more sustainable production model based on tailor-made specialised fertilisers that can be adapted to the needs of individual farmers.
This will be based on valorising local bio-waste streams from agriculture as well as the use of proximity bio-wastes from other industries.
The overarching objective of the B-FERST project is to integrate the valorisation of bio-wastes into agriculture management plans. It is focused on revolutionising the fertiliser value chain by creating eight specialised fertilisers. Specifically, it seeks to:
- Valorise underexploited bio-wastes for sustainable agricultural management by efficiently sourcing, storing and characterising four different sources while eliminating production bottlenecks. It will ensure intermediate product quality, avoid potential health risks and deliver a continuous supply of feedstock.
- Produce eight new green fertilizers at competitive prices using nutrient recovery and biostimulants as soil enhancers. This will strengthen Europe’s domestic fertiliser value chain.
- Replace 15-40 percent of raw materials with bio-waste, taking advantage of their macro and micronutrient composition. This will reduce European dependence on raw materials and develop a market for secondary nutrients.
- Improve the sustainability of fertilisers and management in agriculture by reducing nutrient losses to the environment, using tailored soil nutrient improvement solutions and biodegradable coatings that do not produce impurities in soil and avoid water pollution.
- Scale up the industrial production processes to 600 tonnes of bio-based fertilisers per year with a biosource nutrient extraction rate of 90 percent.
- Develop new logistical approaches aimed at decentralising the fertiliser production chain and recycling/sourcing networks at both local and European levels. It will also develop a scaled modular fertiliser production plant, simplifying the fertiliser value chain through circular approaches.
- Minimise the environmental impact of the fertiliser value chain, specifically the nutrient extraction stage, while lowering water and energy consumption as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint by 10 percent.
- Help set EU level guidelines and specifications for certification and quality standards while increasing awareness among end-users of the greater effectiveness of these new fertilisers, aiding their longer-term commercialisation.
- Make farming more economically efficient by reducing reliance on existing fertilisers as well as increasing crop yields by an average of 10 percent.
B-FERST expects to make the following specific impacts:
- Create at least seven new cross-sector interconnections within the bio-based economy; specifically the sectors and stakeholders involved in this particular value chain.
- Create at least three new bio-based value chains by integrating technologies and increasing interconnections and synergies both within traditional agriculture stakeholders as well as through developing new bonds with other industries.
- Develop eight new products; a range of new bio-based fertilisers, a new organo-mineral fertiliser and a new biodegradable coating.
- Improve the overall sustainability of the value chain by reducing the carbon footprint of the proposed fertilisers operation process by at least 10 percent as well as reducing their environmental impact in other areas.
- From a socioeconomic perspective, it will add value to the European fertiliser and chemical industries sector, by reducing European reliance on raw materials while supporting employment and the sector’s technological advances. It will also strive to ensure that bio-based fertilisers are as effective as their conventional counterparts.