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


Policy information sheet

This document is a briefing paper for policy makers, detailing the policy barriers that need to be overcome, and the policy opportunities that have the potential to help put biobased fertilisers on a level playing field and boost NRR in Europe. 

Farmer Product Information sheets

The aim of these information sheets is to increase farmers understanding of biobased fertilisers by giving them information on these products.

General Dissemination materials

Infographic (DEENITNL)

Video oveview of the 5 demonstration plants (EN)

Demo plant specific materials

Video of plants

  • Groot Zevert plant (ENNL)
  • AM-Power plant  (ENNL)
  • Acqua & Sole plant Coming soon – will be available online
  • BENAS plant (DE
  • Waterleau (ENNL)

Flow Diagrams of the Demonstration Plants illustrating the technology, processes and products

Information sheet for residents living near biogas plants

Business Development Package to help Biogas plants owners in decision making regarding the implementation of nutrient recovery technologies:

See the website of this project >