Recovery of nutrients from organic waste streams

Project duration: June 2017- May 2021

Biowaste, including animal manure, sewage sludge and food waste, forms the most abundant waste stream in Europe and hence, the most prominent potential resource for the production of biogas and the recovery and recycling of mineral nutrients like phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N) and potassium (K), thereby reducing Europe’s dependency on external and non-renewable P reserves and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from N fertilizer production. Nowadays, this waste is often not being recovered, posing severe challenges in terms of inefficient resource use, disposal and environmental pollution.

Systemic addresses the challenge by identifying innovative approaches to recover and recycle valuable mineral components from organic waste streams into new products and integrate them optimally into a local or regional circular economy. The project utilizes and enhances actual business cases and logistics of biogas plants together with the most advanced proven nutrient recovery technologies in order to realize five innovative large scale demonstration plants, producing mineral nutrients and fertilizers for the regional market.

The specific objectives of the Systemic project are:

  • To demonstrate the effective combination of anaerobic digestion with nutrient recovery and recycling technologies (TRL 7-8) for producing valuable fertilizers and soil amendments from EU’s most abundant biowaste streams (manure, sewage sludge and food waste) at five demonstration plants working in a different legal, commercial and agricultural context in five European countries
  • To demonstrate the viability of the Circular Economy business cases at the demonstration plants and to translate these into business opportunities for ten EU outreach locations
  • To provide plant operators and investors with a business development package for advancing the circular economy via the (i) selection of nutrient recovery technologies and possible products, (ii) economic performance and (iii) environmental benefits
  • To derive applicable policy recommendations and to develop a roadmap to support the further roll-out of Circular Economy solutions for biowaste valorisation in Europe

This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under Grant Agreement no. 730400

See the website of this project >