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Events and conferences
Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
Call for papers ESPC4
Policy
Horizon Europe public consultation
EU Circular Bio-Economy public consultation
EU public consultation: CAP agriculture policy and soil
Netherlands nitrogen policy cancelled by Council of State
EU publishes regulation on sewage sludge spreading information
EU tender for risk assessment of contaminants in fertilisers
Preparation of a “Guidance” for German P-recovery regulation
Assessment of EU detergent phosphate ban
Netherlands “Circular Agriculture” vision
Cooperation and perspectives
Fertilizer Focus magazine features organic fertilisers perspectives
The future of water
Global alliance for “regenerative farming”
Canada Nutrient Platform development
Dutch Nutrient Platform members meet-up, March 2019
Research
H2020 calls on Critical Raw Materials
Horizon Europe “Missions” and cluster themes defined
Sweden: sewage and manure nutrient recycling geo-distribution challenges
Cost-effective phosphorus management on arable farms
Biochar and compost tested as fertilising products
Struvite recovery uses less “emergy” than mineral fertiliser production
Nitrification inhibitor impacts struvite plant availability
Different phytases show varying benefits for poultry
ESPP members
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Events and conferences

Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality

9th October, Liège, near Brussels. In the context of the current revision of EU water policy (Water Framework Directive, Waste Water Treatment Directive), and with participation of the European Commission (DG ENVI, DG RTI), this workshop will enable dialogue between the water industry, experts and policy makers (EU, national) on perspectives for phosphorus removal: low discharge consents, flexible permitting / emissions trading, P-removal from small sewage works. Registration now open here.
In partnership with / supported by: IWA (the International Water Association), Eureau, CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management), Université de Liège and ECSM’19 (European Conference on Sludge Management), Liège 6-8 October 2019 https://events.uliege.be/ecsm2019/  for information on the phosphorus removal workshop, contact


 

Call for papers ESPC4

The call for abstracts and posters is now open (closes 31/12/2019) for the 4th European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference (ESPC4), Vienna, 15-17 June 2020. Abstracts are invited for presentations for the six parallel sessions, for plenary success story mini-presentations, for posters or for stands. The parallel session themes are: economy (of phosphorus sustainability and nutrient recycling), enhanced efficiency fertilisers, sustainable phosphorus removal from waste streams, R&D cooperation and platforms, taking R&D developments through to the market and phosphorus sustainability perspectives. Proposed success story mini-presentations (3 minutes, plenary) should present company, local authority (city, region …) or stakeholder successes in implementing phosphorus recycling or phosphorus management. Posters and stands can address any subject related to nutrient sustainability.
Full details and more information about ESPC4 www.phosphorusplatform.eu/ESPC4
escp4 bleu cropped
See more upcoming events at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/upcoming-events
 

Policy

Horizon Europe public consultation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on Horizon Europe, open to 8th September 2019, including inviting comments on the proposed “Orientations” document which will define the content of Horizon Europe (thematic funding, Missions, Partnerships …). The consultation aims to define the general research and innovation challenges to be addressed by Horizon Europe, citing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and questioning priorities (Europe to be Protective, Fair, Sustainable, Competitive or Influential?) and opens the possibility for detailed comments on the thematic objectives, targeted impacts and R&I orientations which will define the content of future R&D calls (‘Second Pillar’).
Public consultation open to 8th September 2019 (Horizon Europe Co-design 2021-2024 consultation) introduction https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/have-your-say-future-objectives-eu-funded-research-and-innovation-2019-jun-28_en
Orientations document for comment (Orientations towards the first Strategic Plan implementing the research and innovation framework programme Horizon Europe) https://ec.europa.eu/research/pdf/horizon-europe/ec_rtd_orientations-towards-the-strategic-planning.pdf

Online survey and submission form https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/HorizonEurope_Codesign_2021-2024


 

EU Circular Bio-Economy public consultation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation open to 27th August 2019 on a proposed “Partnership for a Circular bio-based Europe”, envisaged under the Horizon Europe “European Partnerships” tool. The partnerships objectives will be to support innovation for value creation from waste and biomass, including renewable products and nutrients, and will build on the “Bio Based Industries Joint Technology Initiative” (BBI) of Horizon 2020. The proposed roadmap identifies as challenges to address: the multi-sectoral, fragmented nature of the bio-based sector, the complex policy environment, the high risk and high capital expenditure of large biorefineries and uncertainties around feedstock materials availability and costs. It underlines the need to understand resource variability and flows, deploy demonstration biorefineries and reduce policy fragmentation. Citizen and stakeholder input on the proposed roadmap is requested through the public consultation.
Public consultation open to 27th August 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2019-4972449

EU public consultation: CAP agriculture policy and soil

The European Commission has launched a public consultation open to 27th August 2019 on a planned evaluation of how EU agriculture policy (CAP) impacts soil, citing in particular soil erosion, compaction, organic matter, biodiversity, pollution and salinisation. The evaluation will consider interactions between CAP and other EU policies. This will input to the 2021 EU report on performance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Public consultation open to 27th August 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2019-3760776_en

Netherlands nitrogen policy cancelled by Council of State

The Netherlands Council of State (29th May 2019) has effectively cancelled part of The Netherlands nitrogen policy, concerning nitrogen emissions near to Natura 2000 areas, and has also invalidated a significant number of permits accorded to livestock farms and also infrastructure projects. The Council of State judgement transposes the European Court of Justice decision of 7th November 2018, which was a preliminary ruling on interpretation of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), following an action brought be environmental NGOs. This ECJ judgement states that “grazing of cattle or application of fertiliser” (in the vicinity of a Natura 2000 site) may be classified as a “project” (under the EU Project Assessment Directive 2011/92/EU), and thus that national legislation authorising such activities must be subject to an “appropriate assessment”, before permitting, which shows “that there is no reasonable scientific doubt as to the lack of adverse effects” on the integrity of the Natura 2000 site. The Netherlands “PAS” (Nitrogen Action Programme) did not respect these criteria, and so permits accorded under this programme could be cancelled. Media coverage suggests that over 200 court cases are already underway in the Netherlands concerning PAS permits, for livestock farms, but also for road and airport projects, and that their existing permits may now be cancelled. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) is currently assessing the court decisions and possible consequences, and is looking at possible legally secure solutions in dialogue with stakeholders.
“Dutch nitrogen policy in violation of European nature legislation”, 29 may 2019 www.tellerreport.com/life/2019-05-29---judge--dutch-nitrogen-policy-in-violation-of-european-nature-legislation-.Hyh8XHn6V.html and also: www.nos.nl/artikel/2289778-tientallen-projecten-dreigen-te-sneuvelen-door-stikstof-uitspraak-raad-van-state.html
Netherlands Ministry (LNV) letter to Parliament, 29 May 2019 (in Dutch): www.rijksoverheid.nl/binaries/rijksoverheid/documenten/kamerstukken/2019/05/29/eerste-reactie-op-uitspraak-raad-van-state-inzake-het-programma-aanpak-stikstof/Eerste_reactie_op_uitspraak_Raad_van_State_inzake_het_Programma_Aanpak_Stikstof.pdf
European Court of Justice, decision of 7 November 2018, cases C-293/17 and C-294/17 – search by case number on http://curia.europa.eu

EU publishes regulation on sewage sludge spreading information

The new EU Regulation updating environmental reporting obligations has been published, as presented in ESPP eNews n°s 25 and 27. Current EU legislation (art. 10 of the EU Sludge Directive 86/278) already obliges Member States to maintain a register of data on quantities of sewage sludge produced, quantities used in agriculture, treatments, identification of farms and fields where the sludge is used. The new regulation additionally requires that this information be made available to the public “in a consolidated form”.
EU Regulation 2018/1010, 5th June 2019, “on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment …” https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1010

EU tender for risk assessment of contaminants in fertilisers

The European Commission (DG ENVI) has opened a tender (closing 26/8/19, estimated budget 400 000 €) “Contaminants in fertilisers: Assessment of the Risks from their Presence and of the Socio-economic impacts of a Possible Restriction under Reach”. Tasks include to assess contaminants in fertilisers, to prepare a “pre-regulatory Management Option Analysis (pre-RMOA) and a pre-Annex XV dossier”, to screen data in REACH Registrations and in literature and to assess “alternatives to fertilisers”, including market and cost aspects. It is not clearly stated but it seems this study concerns contaminants in both organic and inorganic fertilisers (the “Tender Specifications” refer to “fertilising products placed on the market”, and to organic contaminants). Compost and digestate are however not covered, because the Commission already has a service contract report (see below). The Tender Specifications refer to possible future amendments to modify contaminant limits in the EU Fertilising Products Regulation or, in order to cover also national fertilisers, in Annex XVII of REACH. The study is very wide, in that analysis of “alternatives to fertilisers” is specified to include “a move to organic farming, limiting the fertilising doses, with an assessment of the potential consequences (reduction in supply of certain crops, reduction of competitiveness of the sector, increase of imports of crops, etc).” and also “the possible reactions of farmers to the unavailability of a specific fertiliser the possibility to use risk management measures for agricultural fields (such as vegetative edge strips, deep placement, etc.), instead of a ban.” Concerning compost and digestate, the Tender Specifications refer to a previous service contract report to the European Commission: “Digestate and compost as fertilisers. Risk assessment and risk management option” (Amec). It is indicated that this report will be transmitted to the contractor selected for the new fertiliser study. To our understanding, this Amec report is not published. ESPP has requested to receive a copy.
EU Commission tender, open to 26th August 2019, ENV/2019/OP/0001, 2019/S 132-323039 “Contaminants in fertilisers: Assessment of the Risks from their Presence and of the Socio-economic Impacts of a Possible Restriction under Reach” https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-display.html?cftId=5131 and Tender Specifications https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=56624 NOTE: thank you to Fertilizers Europe for alerting ESPP to this information

Preparation of a “Guidance” for German P-recovery regulation

In Germany, the new Sewage Sludge Ordinance (AbfKlärV) came into force in October 2017, making obligatory phosphorus (P) recovery from sewage sludge from 2029. Sewage plant operators thus need to decide which recovery method to choose. However, various aspects of the legal framework are not easy to interpret. Therefore a “Guidance” document (Vollzugshilfe) for the AbfKlärV is currently being prepared by the German authorities. The Environment Ministries of the federal states have set up an ad-hoc group of the waste working group “Bund Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Abfall” (LAGA) to prepare this Guidance. The Guidance will not be legally binding, but aims to enable a uniform implementation in the federal states. In June 2019, stakeholder organisations were given the opportunity to comment on a first draft and provide input. With its members, the German Phosphorus Platform (DPP) submitted detailed comments. DPP called in particular to clarify the calculation of the specified P-recovery level based on concentrations: the sludge mass may be lower after the P-recovery operation and this should not impact the recovery rate calculation. Furthermore, DPP called for a clear definition of the legal areas of wastewater and waste so that users know exactly to which legal area a P-recovery technology belongs. In Germany, phosphorus recovery is only mandatory in the AbfKlärV (waste legislation, applicable to sewage sludge). However, there are also processes that recover P during wastewater treatment. Publication of the Guidance is expected in spring 2020.
Summary of German P-recovery legislation, see SCOPE Newsletter n°129
German Phosphorus Platform www.deutsche-phosphor-plattform.de


 

Assessment of EU detergent phosphate ban

The European Commission (COM) has published an assessment of the 2004 EU Detergents Regulation (648/2004), which banned phosphates in domestic laundry and domestic dishwasher detergents (in 2013 and 2017). The ban does not concern industrial and institutional detergents. The assessment concludes that there is no evidence of any environmental benefit from the phosphates ban, because the ban only entered into force recently, because the contribution of detergents to eutrophication was already “relatively small” compared to agriculture before the ban, and because many sewage works in any case remove phosphorus so that detergent P was not reaching the environment. The political nature of the detergent phosphates discussion is demonstrated by the fact that the European Commission website title states the contrary to the assessment conclusions, saying that it “shows environment protection”. COM estimates that the ban has resulted in 55 000 tonnesP/year less being used in detergents. The total cost of Regulation implementation (including other aspects, such as labelling) is estimated to be 0.7 – 1.8 bn€/year (around 0.5% of detergent industry turnover). Overall, the COM assessment considers that the impact of the Regulation has been positive.
“Review of the detergents regulation shows improved consumer and environment protection”, European Commission, 10th July 2019 ec.europa.eu/growth/content/review-detergents-regulation-shows-improved-consumer-and-environment-protection_en and “Evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on detergents”, SWD(2019) 298 final = summary and SWD(2019) 299 final = full assessment 10th July 2019

Netherlands “Circular Agriculture” vision

The Netherlands Minister of Agriculture, Carola Schouten, presented in 2018 a vision for “The Netherlands as a leader in circular agriculture”, and plan to implement this vision was transmitted to the Netherlands Parliament in June 2019. The Ministry document indicates that Dutch farming, horticulture and fisheries are constantly innovating, making the Netherlands a global leader in these sectors. However, current production methods are not without cost. The Netherlands faces serious social and ecological challenges and needs to prevent depletion of soil, freshwater supplies and raw materials, halt the decline in biodiversity and fulfil commitments to the Paris climate agreement. Carola Schouten sees circular agriculture as the logical and conclusive answer to these issues. This means closing cycles of minerals and other resources as far as possible, strengthening the focus on biodiversity and respecting the Earth’s natural limits, preventing waste and ensuring that farmers are paid a fair price for their work. The government’s goal is for cycles of raw materials and resources to be closed at the lowest possible level, either nationally or internationally, by 2030. The Minister hopes that the Netherland’s vision on circular agriculture will become a source of inspiration at European level.
Netherlands vision for circular agriculture: “Agriculture, nature and food: valuable and connected”, English version www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-agriculture-nature-and-food-quality/documents/policy-notes/2018/11/19/vision-ministry-of-agriculture-nature-and-food-quality---english

Cooperation and perspectives

Fertilizer Focus magazine features organic fertilisers perspectives

The July-August edition of the trade magazine Fertilizer Focus summarises the first Summit of the Organic Fertilisers Industry in Europe (SOFIE, organised by ESPP) and a discussion of the organic-based fertilisers market by ECOFI. It is underlined that most fertilisers used in Certified Organic Farming are organic-based (based on natural materials containing organic carbon), but that most organic-based fertilisers are not Organic Farming Certified. Both articles state that sales of organic-based fertilisers in Europe are estimated to be around 2.5 bn€ (source: Allied Market Research 2016). ECOFI underline the complementarity between mineral and organic fertilisers (including with organo-mineral products), as was also emphasised by Fertilizers Europe at SOFIE. ECOFI indicate that EU organic-based fertiliser producers are increasingly developing high-value export markets, and the SOFIE conference article highlights a number of companies innovating in this market: ILSA, Veolia, Fertikal, 4R Group, Biolan, Soilfood, OvinAlp. The SOFIE conference conclusions are summarised, including recommendations for clarifying new products, data on agronomic performance and on industry, importance of ensuring consistent quality and tailor-made, added-value products for continuing development.
Fertilizer Focus (Argus Media) www.argusmedia.com/en/fertilizer/fertilizer-focus
This article, and also full summary of SOFIE conference in ESPP SCOPE Newsletter n°130, at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019

The future of water

A discussion paper from IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) discusses disruptive technologies susceptible to restructure water and wastewater management in coming decades. Ideas presented include “one water” (integration of waste-, storm- and drinking water infrastructures) enabled with advanced processing technologies (e.g. membranes), to facilitate water reuse and address challenges of drought and floods; energy and resource recovery (especially biogas from sewage sludge and phosphorus recycling; decentralisation facilitated by distant digital sensing and control; cost reduction of desalination (to address water supply), LED UV for advanced oxidation and disinfection. The importance of regulation to enable technology uptake is underlined.
“The future of water”, essays by G. Daigger, N. Voutchkov, U. Lall, W. Sarni, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Discussion Paper n° IDB-DP-657, April 2019 (75 pages) http://water.columbia.edu/files/2019/04/FINAL_The_Future_of_Water_28March2019.pdf

Global alliance for “regenerative farming”

The three year project “Farming for Generations” has been launched by eight leading global agri-food companies: Danone (leader), Connectera, Corteva Agriscience, DSM, FutureCow, MSD Animal Health, Neogen and Yara, with Wageningen UR.  The project will work with 25 dairy farms in Europe, the USA and Russia to identify and test new approaches and best practices, and develop an applied toolbox for dairy farmers. The project states that “food systems need to be changed to be fit for the future” and “sustainable diets” need to be defined to provide nutrition to the world population whilst respecting environmental limits. “Regenerative (dairy) farming” is indicated as aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect soil and biodiversity, provide quality feed for cows, ensure that animals have a healthy and stress-free life and empower farmers.
“Global alliance Farming for Generations launches to transform dairy farming towards regenerative agriculture” 26 June 2019 www.yara.com/news-and-media/news/archive/2019/global-alliance-farming-for-generations/ and www.connecterra.io/about-us/press-media/press-release-farming-for-generations

Canada Nutrient Platform development

Discussions are underway, between academics, government staff and stakeholders, to establish a Canadian Nutrient Recovery and Reuse (CNRR) Platform. This follows the 8th March 2018 National (Canadian) Nutrient Recovery and Reuse (NNRR) Forum held in Toronto and hosted by the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) Inc., which brought together more than 80 participants from government and academic sectors. The Platform intends to work collaboratively with the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) and the USA based Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance (SPA). The development of the CNRR Platform was a key recommendation in IISD's report from the Toronto Forum, titled “Nutrient Recovery and Reuse in Canada, Foundations for a national framework”. This proposes to base the CNRR Platform around stakeholder communication strategies / programs, public policy, industry practices and technology improvements and development, and market based incentive development and to focus initially on phosphorus recovery and reuse from urban and rural point and non-point sources. Work is currently underway to develop a multi-year funding proposal to build and lead the CNRR platform and allow it to transform to a self-sustaining platform.
Toronto 8 March 2018 Canada Nutrient Reuse an Recovery Forum, including presentations and report: www.iisd.org/event/national-nutrient-reuse-and-recovery-forum

Dutch Nutrient Platform members meet-up, March 2019

Bringing supply and demand together, that was the aim of the first Nutrient Platform member meeting in 2019. The members Meststoffen NL, Agro America and Avebe joined forces to facilitate this meeting. Curious about what the meeting looked like? Watch the video here (in Dutch). The program started with a presentation from Wageningen UR about circularity in agriculture and the Next Level Manure Valuation project. The new SusPhos company showed how they are actively working on recovering phosphate from ash and Van Iperen shared their insights from the fertilizer side about the use of recovered nutrients. After these introductions it was time for real matchmaking. During three different round table discussions, the participants looked at products from waste water streams, animal waste streams and organic waste streams. Agro America, BMC, SusPhos, IRS (Royal Cosun / SuikerUnie) and the water boards presented their products to the Nutrient Platform members and to the producers and distributors of Meststoffen NL. For some members this immediately resulted in follow-up agreements. The discussions provided the secretariat of the Nutrient Platform with new action points and suggestions to facilitate the use of recovered nutrients.
Netherlands Nutrient Platform www.nutrientplatform.org/ and meeting video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXUAwWUcJ2A

Research

H2020 calls on Critical Raw Materials

Two calls are open for Horizon Europe R&D funding on circular economy and Critical Raw Materials, both 2-stage with first deadline 6 February 2020. The first call looks for innovative pilots and scale-up of (non-energy, non-agriculture) circular and Critical Raw Materials production technologies TRL 6-7, including market uptake and link to the EC Raw Materials Information System RMIS. Actions can include: processing of primary or secondary raw materials, recycling from end-of-life products. The second call is for expert network(s) to cover all EU Critical Raw Materials (current list and/or under evaluation and/or future lists).
Call: “Raw materials innovation for the circular economy: sustainable processing, reuse, recycling and recovery schemes” CE-SC5-07-2020 https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/ce-sc5-08-2020
Call: “Raw materials policy support actions for the circular economy - Expert network on Critical Raw Materials” CE-SC5-08-2020 https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/ce-sc5-08-2020

Horizon Europe “Missions” and cluster themes defined

The EU institutions have agreed the key aspects of Horizon Europe, the EU’s 9th research and innovation funding programme, which will follow on from Horizon 2020 and run from 2021 to 2028 with an expected budget of around 100 billion € EU funding. Horizon Europe will be structured in four “Pillars”: I - Excellent Science (inc. Marie-Curie networks), II - “Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness”, III - Innovative Europe (inc. SMEs = now EIC) and IV - Widening participation & ERA. Pillar II will have seven “Clusters”: Health; Culture and inclusive society; Civil security; Digital & space; Climate, energy, mobility; Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture & environment and JRC. The 6th cluster “Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture & environment” is of strong relevance to phosphorus sustainability. Also, five “Missions” have been decided, which will be horizontal across all pillars with objectives to “boost the impact of EU-funded research and innovation by mobilising investment and EU wide efforts around measurable and time-bound goals around issues that affect citizens’ daily lives”. The five “Missions” are: (1) Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation; 2 - Cancer; 3 - Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters; 4 - Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities; 5 - Soil Health and Food. Nutrients are central to the 5th mission, and also relevant to the 2nd mission.
Horizon Europe “Missions” announced (4/7/19)
https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/commission-launches-work-major-research-and-innovation-missions-cancer-climate-oceans-and-soil-2019-jul-04_en

 “Political agreement” on Horizon Europe (reached between Council, Parliament and the Commission), April 2019: statement http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-19-2163_en.htm and full document as adopted by Parliament (17/4/2019) www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0396_EN.html

European Commission proposal published FP9 regulation proposal published (7/6/18)
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4041_en.htm
and https://ec.europa.eu/info/designing-next-research-and-innovation-framework-programme/what-shapes-next-framework-programme_en


Sweden: sewage and manure nutrient recycling geo-distribution challenges

Currently Sweden supplies 81% of its crop nitrogen (N) need from mineral fertilisers, 38% of phosphorus (P) and 33% of potassium (K). Livestock manure and human excreta also supply 55% + 20% of N, 65% + 16% of P and 151% + 16% of K, showing significant (localised) nutrient supply surpluses. A study assesses to what extent nutrients in livestock manure and human excreta could supply crop needs. Figures of 11 gN, 1.5 gP and 3.6 gK per person per day for nutrients in human excreta* and for nutrients in different animal manures were combined with municipality human and livestock population data. Crop needs were estimated based on agricultural district data, nutrient needs for different crops and soil data. The study concludes that human excreta and animal manure could cover 75% of crop N needs and 81% of P needs, with a 67% K** excess. However, necessary movement of manures and human excreta from livestock density and high human population areas to crop production areas would generate 24 000 km/year of truck movements (estimated cost 200 M€/year), based on wet weight of manure (solid or slurry), urine and faeces, assuming 100% nutrient collection and availability from both human and livestock excreta (so effectively assuming 100% separative collection of human urine and faeces) but discounting N losses in storage.
“Enhancing nutrient recycling from excreta to meet crop nutrient needs in Sweden – a spatial analysis”, U. Akram, N-H. Quttineh, U. Wennergren, K. Tonderski, G. Metson, Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 10264 (2019), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46706-7
* calculated from Supplementary Table 2. ** the figure for K is corrected, the number in the study abstract was missing 16%

Cost-effective phosphorus management on arable farms

The final report of the UK Sustainable Arable LINK study (AHDB) concludes that phosphorus (P) management in arable farming should become “crop focused” rather than targeting only soil P status, with grain P content a much more reliable management tool than soil P analysis. Results are based on field trial data from twelve site-seasons (9 sites) and from soil P data over seven years in the UK. Field tramline trials confirmed that crop yields were significantly affected by soil P status in soils with low P, but showed that new P applications in soils with low or variable P status, generally increased crop yield, but were not necessarily cost-effective (cost of fertiliser), whereas crop yield was significantly impacted by long-term soil phosphorus. Grain P content showed to be a good indicator of crop responsiveness to P (i.e. of whether or not P fertiliser application was necessary) and was more reliable (but more expensive) than soil Olsen P analysis. Routine soil Olsen P results were so variable as to be very unreliable unless several analyses were taken nearby, probably because of inherent variability of P fixation within soil. Annual grain P analysis is recommended to both calculate P offtake with harvest and to predict future P fertiliser requirements. For a given soil P status, soil P rundown was significantly faster where soil P status had been recently built up to Index 2 (compared to soils where it had been maintained at Index 2 for some time). Whereas current agronomic recommendation is to maintain soil P at Index 2, it was cost effective for some crop rotations to maintain soil P at Index 1 only (for other rotations, Index 2 should be maintained). The report underlines that initial take-up of P fertilisers by arable crops was only 4% and overall <8%, showing “massive scope for improvement”, whereas the cost of P fertilisers used in the UK is over 100 M€ per year. Nonetheless, around one quarter of cereal crops in the UK are P-deficient and would benefit from increased P fertilization. A table of revised default values for P-removal from soil by different crops is proposed. The report proposes the establishment of a farm “Phosphorus Efficiency Network” and recommends further R&D into: testing products and practices for P efficiency, improving P monitoring (analysis, standards, benchmarks …) and dissemination of best practice and science.
“Final Project Report. Cost-effective Phosphorus Management on UK Arable Farms” (includes the report on “Work-Package 3: Improving the efficiency of fresh P applications”), R. Sylvester-Bradley et al., March 2019, 66 pages, AHDB (UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) project report n° 570 https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1487193/pr570-final-project-report-wp3.pdf

Biochar and compost tested as fertilising products

The results of the EU-funded FERTIPLUS (7th FP) project are now published in “Agronomy”. Biochar (from oak tree biomass) and composts from olive mill by-products, green waste and biowaste (municipal solid organic wastes) and from sheep manure were tested at 20 – 100 tonnes/ha in one to three year field trials in four crop systems: olive groves in Spain, greenhouse tomatoes in Spain, arable rotation in Belgium and vineyards in Italy. The biochar alone had no fertiliser effect (because of its very low nutrient content) but both biochar and composts, and the two together, showed in most trials to increase soil organic carbon, water retention and nutrient availability and to improve soil pH. They showed no negative impacts on crop yield and in some cases led to improved crop qualities. The conclusion is that biochar and compost can contribute to support and maintain soil fertility.
“Agronomic Evaluation of Biochar, Compost and Biochar-Blended Compost across Different Cropping Systems: Perspective from the European Project FERTIPLUS”, M. Sánchez-Monedero et al., Agronomy 2019, 9, 225; http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050225

Struvite recovery uses less “emergy” than mineral fertiliser production

A desk study presents “emergy” accounting for struvite recovery from municipal wastewater (based on data from Ostara 2013 for Crystal Green struvite) and compares to mineral fertiliser production (DAP, based on data from Mosaic and from Agrium, both 2013).“Emergy” is stated to be the “available energy required directly and indirectly to make a product”. The paper concludes that, taking into account variability of data for DAP production and also for struvite (e.g. possible economies from scale-up, with or without WASSTRIP), the “emergy” for recovered struvite is in all scenarios significantly lower than for DAP.
“Nutrient Recovery from Municipal Wastewater for Sustainable Food Production Systems: An Alternative to Traditional Fertilizers”, Env. Eng. Science 2019 http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ees.2019.0053

Nitrification inhibitor impacts struvite plant availability

Struvite recovered from dairy wastewater (Phos-Paques) was assessed in 65-day pot trials with rye grass, comparing to conventional magnesium and phosphate fertilisers (Epsom Salts - magnesium sulphate, TSP - triple super phosphate), with and without addition of the nitrification inhibitor DCD (dicyandiamide). Soil was nutrient poor, sandy, pH 5.5. In these conditions, struvite was as effective or better than the conventional fertilisers for rye grass shoot growth and for phosphorus and magnesium uptake, with no significant impact of whether the struvite was fresh, air dried, or heat dried (40°C). The magnesium uptake could be positive to redress declining magnesium in many crops over recent decades (e.g. cereals). The nitrification inhibitor slowed short-term phosphorus uptake from struvite in some of the tests, probably because it inhibited struvite breakdown because of struvite’s ammonium content. This could in some circumstances be significant where crops need rapid early phosphorus supply for growth.
“Plant availability of magnesium and phosphorus from struvite with concurrent nitrification inhibitor application”, C. Watson, J. Clemens, F. Wichern, within the Interreg Food Pro.tec project, Soil Use Management 2019, 00:1-8 https://doi.org/10.1111/sum.12527

Different phytases show varying benefits for poultry

Tests carried out for DuPont looked at effects on phosphate uptake by chickens with two different phytase enzymes, and also at digestion of protein and sodium and overall growth. A total of 1152 broilers were fed controlled diets for 16 days. The two phytases were produced by different bacteria: E. coli and Buttiauxella sp. Increasing phytase doses (or increasing phosphate food additive MCP mono calcium phosphate) resulted in improved feed intake and weight gain, but effects were greater for the Buttiauxella phytase. This phytase, but not the E. coli phytase, showed to improve protein digestibility. The authors conclude that “non phosphate” effects of phytases are not necessarily correlated to effects on phosphorus uptake, and can vary between different phytases.
“Comparative effects of two phytases versus increasing the inorganic phosphorus content of the diet, on nutrient and amino acid digestibility in boilers”, Y. Dersjant-Li, C. Kwakernaak, Animal Feed Science and Technology 253 (2019) 166–180, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2019.05.018
 
 
 

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SCOPE Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SCOPE130
Earlier SCOPE editions www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SCOPEnewsletter

In this SCOPE Newsletter:

SCOPE summary edition of the 1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE), 5 - 6 June 2019, organised by ESPP. SOFIE brought together, for the first time ever, the European carbon-based fertiliser sector, and attracted over 125 participants, from industry (two thirds of participants), regulators, stakeholders and R&D, covering 14 European countries, as well as India and North America.

Download SCOPE Newsletter # 130

New ESPP member, LEX4BIO is a Horizon 2020 R&D project, started 1st June 2019. The main goal of the project is to provide a knowledge-based on bio-based fertilisers, in order to secure safe and efficient use of nutrient rich-side streams in European agriculture, reducing the dependency on imported phosphorus fertilisers and energy intensive nitrogen fertilisers. The objectives are to optimise the usage of bio-based fertilisers from side-streams, ensure their safety, build evidence-based trust in their usage and develop legislative framework. LEX4BIO will collect and process regional nutrient stock, flow, surplus and deficiency data, and review and assess the required technological solutions. Furthermore, socioeconomic benefits and limitations to bio-based fertiliser use will be analysed. A deliverable of LEX4BIO will be a toolkit to optimise the use of bio-based fertilisers and to assess their environmental impact in terms of non-renewable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other LCA impact categories, In order to facilitate the connection between bio-based fertiliser production technologies and regional requirements.

LEX4BIO information https://forschung.boku.ac.at/fis/suchen.projekt_uebersicht?sprache_in=en&menue_id_in=300&id_in=12743

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews034
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Upcoming events
Workshop Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Conference and meeting outcomes
Successful first workshop of the carbon-based fertiliser industry
1st workshop on EU Fertilising Products Regulation implementation
Italy national phosphorus platform launch meeting
EU Green Week, 16th May 2019: innovation in fertilising products
Regulation
EU Fertilisers Regulation published
EFSA publishes Acceptable Daily Intake for phosphorus in food
EBIC paper on justifying biostimulants product claims
Exemption of digestate from REACH registration
Wisconsin Senate votes water quality trading legislation
Implementation and research
Kanton Zurich progresses with phosphorus recovery
Bio-economy partnership strategy, new projects
Scientists push for enhanced efficiency fertilisers
State of the art: digestate as fertiliser
Science
Optimizing bio-based fertilisers in agriculture
LCA shows how system boundaries change the answer
ESPP members
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Upcoming events

Workshop Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality

9th October, Liège, near Brussels. In the context of the current revision of EU water policy (Water Framework Directive, Waste Water Treatment Directive), and with participation of the European Commission (DG ENVI, DG RTD), this workshop will enable dialogue between the water industry, experts and policy makers (EU, national) on perspectives for phosphorus removal: low discharge consents, flexible permitting / emissions trading, P-removal from small sewage works. Programme, registration and more information can be found at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/Premovalworkshop  
In partnership with / supported by: IWA (the International Water Association), Eureau, CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management), Université de Liège and ECSM’19 (European Conference on Sludge Management), Liège 6-8 October 2019, for information on the phosphorus removal workshop, website www.phosphorusplatform.eu/Premovalworkshop and contact


 

9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)

“Putting phosphorus first? How to address current and future challenges”. ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, 8-12 July 2019. The 9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9) will address five research themes: 1. phosphorus scarcity; 2. optimizing regional and national phosphorus cycles; 3. sourcing phosphorus fertilizers; 4. efficient phosphorus use in agroecosystems; 5. environmental phosphorus problems.
Website IPW9 www.ipw9.ethz.ch


 

See more upcoming events at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/upcoming-events
 

Conference and meeting outcomes

Successful first workshop of the carbon-based fertiliser industry

The first Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE, 5-6 June 2019, Brussels) brought together, for the first time ever, the European carbon-based fertiliser sector, and attracted over 125 participants, from industry (two thirds of participants), regulators, stakeholders and R&D, covering 14 European countries, as well as India and North America. The workshop addressed industry and markets for added-value organic fertiliser products, agronomic evidence of carbon-based fertilisers impacts on crops and on soils, and opportunities and challenges for industry from developments in European regulations. Discussions underlined that organic and mineral fertilisers are complementary products and confirmed the need to deliver consistent and quality products to farmers, adapted to agronomic requirements and to practical considerations. Market opportunities identified include the development of Certified Organic Farming (an added-value market for appropriately produced carbon-based fertilisers), links to innovative bio-stimulant products, increasing recognition of the importance of soil organic carbon and development of the circular economy for nutrients and carbon. These markets will be considerably changed by the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation which will enable export within Europe (new CE-Mark opening a ‘single’ EU market).
SOFIE was organised by ESPP in partnership with the International Fertiliser Society (IFS). Meeting slides are online here and a full conference conclusions and summary (SCOPE Newsletter N°130) will be published shortly www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019 


 

1st workshop on EU Fertilising Products Regulation implementation

Fertilizers Europe organised on 28th May the first meeting to present implementation of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR). Speakers included the European Commission, national regulators, CEN industry and scientific experts. Kirsi Ekroth-Manssila, Head of Unit Chemicals at DG GROW, summarised the changes the FPR will bring for fertiliser producers, technology providers, farmers and for environmental protection. She outlined tasks now outstanding for FPR implementation: setting-up conformity assessment (notified bodies) and market surveillance, defining criteria on agronomic efficiency and safety for by-products, defining criteria for biodegradation of polymers in control release fertilisers, new European testing standards, guidance on labelling, FRP “FAQs” document. Andreas Steinbüchler, Borealis, presented the company’s work with the City of Vienna to recycle back to mineral fertilisers phosphorus from the city’s sewage sludge incineration ash. He outlined Borealis’ expectations in and beyond the FRP: coherent implementation across EU Member States, clear and workable criteria for by-products, an EU label for recycled nutrient fertilisers and assessment of fertilising products’ Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE). Patrick du Jardin, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Université de Liège, presented the potential of biostimulants in improving fertiliser Nutrient Use Efficiency, underlining that the opportunities offered by their inclusion in the FRP. Yan Chys, Yara and convener of CEN TC 260 / WG7 summarised the need for EU standards for testing methods to accompany the FPR and the considerable challenges: number of new standards needed, scope beyond simple analytical methods (sampling; safety; additive specific; performance oriented; environmental), time needed for stakeholder consultation, ring testing and in some cases field trials.
“New Fertilizer Regulation: Where do we go?”, Fertilizers Europe workshop, Brussels, 28th May 2019 www.fertilizerseurope.com


 

Italy national phosphorus platform launch meeting

The Italy Government has entrusted to ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) the objective of establishing an Italy Phosphorus Platform. A launch meeting at the Italy Environment Ministry, Rome, on 26th March, brought together around fifty participants. The platform objectives cover all aspects of phosphorus sustainability: P in the food chain, optimising P use, recycling in organic materials and in mineral fertilisers, high tech uses of P such as batteries and fire safety. Four work-packages are engaged, each with an ENEA coordinator: WG1 = Market and added value for recycled phosphorus (), WG2 = Technologies and Best Practices (), WG3 = Legislation – regulatory obstacles (), WG4 = Promotion and long-term sustainability (). An objective of the platform is to propose an R&D / innovation agenda, proposing innovation funding and support. Project deliverables for 2019 include a summary of EU policies and initiatives on phosphorus, an analysis of phosphorus flows in Italy (markets, supply, demand), a catalogue of technologies for phosphorus recovery and of best management practices, reports on the legislative framework and regulatory and policy proposals. WGs 1-3 have as deliverables by end 2019 reports of conclusions, with proposed actions. Deliverables of WG4 include, by end 2019, to identify organisations willing to participant in the Italy Phosphorus Platform as founding members and to define an operating scenario and budget. To date, around fifty organisations have expressed interest to join the new platform.

 

EU Green Week, 16th May 2019: innovation in fertilising products

A session at the EU Green Week, Brussels, 6th May, addressed “Sustainable fertilisers: greener practices to be promoted by the upcoming Fertilising Products Regulation”, with presence of DG GROW, DG ENVI, DG SANTE, DG AGRI and DG RTD.

Tiffanie Stephani, Fertilzers Europe presented progress made by European industry: greenhouse emissions from nitrogen fertiliser production and use have been reduced by 40% since 1990, and the EU fertiliser industry’s carbon footprint is now around half that of US industry. Regulation has been a key driver for this progress. The European industry is also actively supporting better fertiliser use, including with digital tools to support farmer decision making and in-field testing. In particular the Cool Farm Alliance has developed metrics for farm sustainability, for greenhouse emissions and nitrogen, but not yet for phosphorus.

Catarina Henke, EuroChem, explained the need of high nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in fertilising practice and presented inhibitors and biostimulants as tools for sustainable intensification. With urease and nitrification inhibitors, NUE can be increased up to 13 % (recent meta-study results) leading to both, relevant yield increase (7.5 % in average of meta-studies) and substantially reduced nitrogen losses (N2O and ammonia emissions, nitrate leaching). Inhibitors can improve NUE of both, mineral and organic fertilisers. A market survey by EuroChem shows that the main claims for biostimulants are to improve plant growth, root growth, crop yield, crop quality, resistance to abiotic stress and nutrient uptake. Strong research activities are presented as an essential path of the new products into markets.

Leon Terlingen, ICL, presented some approaches to improve fertiliser efficiency: foliar application of fertilisers, progressive application with drip-irrigation, controlled release fertilisers (CRF). CRFs use specific, very thin coatings (c. 50 µm) of fertiliser pellets to allow progressive release of the nutrients, over several months or longer according to plant needs. Because the fertiliser compounds are enclosed, they do not ‘burn’ and can be placed directly in plant root zones. Tests show that CRFs can reduce nitrogen leaching by over 50% and potassium leaching by 70%. The challenge now facing industry is to develop coating materials which continue to offer the water resistance over time required to ensure slow release, but are biodegradable to the new Fertilising Products Regulation requirements.

Chris Thornton, ESPP, underlined the importance of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR), not only for recycled fertiliser products, but also for nutrient recycling technologies: it is difficult to sell a technology across Europe if the resulting product is only authorised as a fertiliser in some countries. The new EU regulation, with CE Mark recycled fertilisers, will resolve this, whilst at the same time ‘national’ fertilisers can continue to be sold under national legislation corresponding to local markets and farmer requirements. He presented a number of ESPP member companies developing nutrient recycling, already in operation today or under construction full-scale: Veolia, Suez, Ecophos, EasyMining, Ostara, Roullier, Yara and ICL.

Frans Pauwels, fertilisers consultant, presented organic fertilisers, noting their increasing agronomic recognition, with the increasing use of soil structure and root-zone analyses. He summarised key developments in organic fertiliser products, including no-dust pellets, micro-granulation and wetting agents (for better plant availability), high-density granules (for better handling) and non-feedable forms (avoid risk of return to animal food chain for ABP-based products), foliar application organic fertilisers, products combining fertiliser and soil improving functions.

Matjaz Klemencic, DG SANTE, explained the mechanism for authorisation of animal by-product (ABP) derived products in CE Mark fertilisers, which will be engaged after the EU Fertilising Products Regulation is published. The primary aim is to guarantee safety of the food chain.

Isidro Campos-Rodriguez, DG AGRI, presented the FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients) which is included in the proposals for the new EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), see ESPP eNews n°25 and n°31, currently in discussion in Parliament and Council. The Commission is proposing the use of the FaST as part of the conditionality obligatory for all farmers receiving EU subsidies. The expected benefits are economic, optimizing the use of fertilizers, environmental, reducing the risk of pollution, and FaST will increase the digitalisation of the farming sector. Farmers can use either the new EU tool or any private or public tool (many exist) which is compliant with requirements. The authorities will verify (electronically) that the tool is being used, but not the data entered and not the implementation of the recommendations received from the tool by the farmer.
Industry speakers underlined the importance of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation in providing a European regulatory framework for innovative fertiliser approaches and for products with today no European regulation (biostimulants, organic fertilisers). The new regulation will also widen the range of possible secondary input materials.

Johanna Bernsel, DG GROW, concluded the meeting. She explained that the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation is designed to be “open”, enabling innovation and new recycling routes. Whereas the current Regulation 2003/2003 covers only mineral fertilisers, the new FPR will cover organic and organo-mineral fertilisers, as well as soil improvers, biostimulants, etc., whilst also opening the market for recycled nutrient products. The new Regulation will thus open market opportunities for front runners in nutrient recycling, and in these different sectors now addressed.

EU Green Week website www.eugreenweek.eu
ESPP slides presented www.slideshare.net/NutrientPlatform/sustainable-phosphorus-sources-ready-for-the-european-market-eu-greenweek-2019-sustainable-fertilisers-greener-practices-to-be-promoted-by-the-upcoming-fertilising-products-regulation-16-may-2019

 

Regulation

EU Fertilisers Regulation published

The EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) is now finally published in the EU Official Journal of 25th June (in all EU official languages). This new regulation opens the European market for recycled fertilisers; and also for organic fertilisers, biostimulants, composts and digestate, which to date could only be sold under different national legislations. It thus also opens the European market for nutrient recycling technologies. Products which respect the new FRP criteria (CE-Mark) will benefit from the “single market” (can be sold anywhere in Europe) and further will automatically have End-of-Waste status. There is now a three year delay period before FRP implementation, that is before companies can place on the market CE-Mark fertilisers – but companies wishing to be ready in three years should start preparations now. The new FRP is flexible, in that the European Commission can add further products and materials by a comitology process. The JRC “STRUBIAS” report (struvite and recovered phosphate salts, biochars and pyrolysis materials, ash-based materials) is expected to be published soon, and these materials are expected to be added to the FRP annexes by end 2019 – early 2020. Work will now also start to define a list of animal by-products (and ABP end-points) to be integrated into the FPR, for which CMC10 “Animal By-Products” is currently an empty box. The European Commission is also working on testing methods and standards to accompany the new FRP, a ‘Questions and Answers” document to explain how the regulation works, guidance on FRP product labelling, and definition of criteria for “By-Products” for CMC11 (industrial by-products, organic or food by-products … other than animal by-products). To input to these activities, please contact ESPP.
EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) publication text https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2019:170:TOC

EFSA publishes Acceptable Daily Intake for phosphorus in food

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has derived, for the first time, a maximum safe dietary level of phosphorus in food (an “ADI” Acceptable Daily Intake for phosphates), at 40 mgP/kg body weight “protective for the human population”. This corresponds to a daily intake of 2.8 gP/day for an average adult (70 kg). It is stated that children and adolescents with average levels of phosphorus in their diet may currently exceed this ADI, and that this may be 10% of the population. EFSA note that this ADI is not applicable to persons with reduced kidney function, for whom lower levels are necessary. This ADI is in fact derived from the NOAEL of 167 mgP/kg body weight calculated by Hodge in 1960 (chronic toxicity study with rats, showing kidney impacts), multiplied by an uncertainty factor of x4 to extrapolate to humans (this is arguable, because some strains of rat are known to be, on the contrary, more sensitive to kidney problems). EFSA also conclude that phosphates have low acute toxicity and no concern for genotoxicity, developmental toxicity or carcinogenicity. The EFSA experts estimate the population average dietary phosphorus intake at 1.63 gP/day for adults, and the upper 95th percentile intake at 2.7 gP/day. Food additive phosphates contribute 6 - 30% to total dietary intake and it is recommended that the EU introduces maximum limits for levels of phosphates in “food supplements”, that is for tablets or liquids marketed as nutrient concentrates in a “dose” form, i.e. not for food additives included in foodstuffs or used in food processing. EFSA also recommends to consider revision of the current limits for toxic metals in food phosphates (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury), to revise limits for aluminium in calcium phosphate (E341), to include specification of possible nano-particle levels in food phosphates and to develop analytical methods to determine phosphate additives in foods and beverages.
“EFSA issues new advice on phosphates”, 12th June 2019 www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/190612
“Outcome of the questions for health professionals in the fields of nephrology, mineral metabolism, cardiovascular and nutrition medicine on phosphates food additives re-evaluation”, EFSA 2019, Question number: EFSA-Q-2018-00312, EFSA Supporting publication 2019:EN-1624 www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/en-1624
“Re-evaluation of phosphoric acid–phosphates – di-, tri- and polyphosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452) as food additives and the safety of proposed extension of use”, EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF), adopted 4th June 2019, EFSA Journal 2019;17(6):5674 www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/5674
Detailed input received from five organisations during the consultation on this EFSA investigation is published, in particular input from ERA-EDTA (European association of kidney specialists) and from Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany.
EFSA definition of “food supplements” www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/food-supplements

EBIC paper on justifying biostimulants product claims

Four authors from members or service providers of EBIC (European Biostimulant Industry Council) have published a paper outlining how they consider that products should justify the agronomic claim to provide biostimulant functions as defined in the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation (art. 47) “a product stimulating plant nutrition processes independently of the product’s nutrient content with the sole aim of improving one or more of the following characteristics of the plant or the plant rhizosphere: (a) nutrient use efficiency; (b) tolerance to abiotic stress; (c) quality traits; (d) availability of confined nutrients in soil or rhizosphere”. The paper summarises what experimental data should be provided to support claims, noting that claims can range from addressing only one specific crop/soil situation to wider general claims, that test requirements should be proportional to the claims made (not excessively burdensome) and that harmonised European standards for test methods should be developed by CEN. It is underlined that industry trends are towards complex, multi-component biostimulant products and that the effects of biostimulants depend strongly on soil type and conditions. A justified biostimulant claim does not guarantee effectiveness under all conditions in the field.
“General Principles to Justify Plant Biostimulant Claims”, M. Ricci, L. Tilbury, B. Daridon, K. Sukalac, Front. Plant Sci. 10:494 Open Access http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.00494

Exemption of digestate from REACH registration    

It is our understanding that the addition of “digestate” to the list of materials exempted from the obligation of REACH Registration (Annex V) has finally been approved (Member States CARACAL Committee 17th May 2019), and the Regulation formalising this is expected to be published in July 2019. The modification of REACH (the European Chemicals Regulation) adds simply the word “digestate” to the list of materials exempted from registration (after compost and biogas, which were already specified). However, the Regulation making this modification gives more details, defining digestate as “a residual semisolid or liquid material that has been sanitised and stabilised by a biological treatment process, of which the last step is an anaerobic digestion step, and where the inputs used in that process are biodegradable materials originating only from non-hazardous source segregated materials, such as food waste, manure and energy crops”. The Regulation indicates that no REACH registrations for digestate have been submitted, but that this modification will remove uncertainties for producers and users of digestate and for enforcement authorities. This exemption of digestate in REACH Annex V was requested from the European Commission by the European Biogas Association and the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) in 2014.
Draft Regulation adding ‘digestate’ to the REACH Annex V exemptions from registration: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/tbt/en/search/?tbtaction=search.detail&Country_ID=EU&num=630

Wisconsin Senate votes water quality trading legislation

The Wisconsin State Senate has unanimously voted a bill to enable a third-party clearing house to facilitate water quality trading. The bill would enable permitting of somewhat increased pollutant discharges if compensated by purchase of credits from brokers certified by the State regulator. An official state-wide clearing house would act as a credit bank and maintain a registry of all broker credits. This would enable, for example, a dairy farm to reduce nutrient emissions beyond their regulatory obligation and sell the “credit” to other nutrient emitters, such as industry or municipal sewage works. Such emissions trading systems enable pollution reductions to be made where they are most cost effective. Wisconsin legislation already allows emissions trading, but only directly (between the party reducing its emissions and the party purchasing credits). By introducing third-party brokerage, the new bill aims to make this system more operational. The bill specifies that trading must aim to reduce transaction costs, maximise pollution prevention and reduce the total pollutants emitted into the “hydrological area” (that is, emissions into one area cannot be credited in another). The bill is currently under discussion in the Wisconsin House of Representatives.
Clean Wisconsin, 15 May 2019 www.cleanwisconsin.org/clean-wisconsin-applauds-unanimous-passage-of-sb-91
Wisconsin Assembly Bill AB113 https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/AB113
Senate Bill SB91 http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/reg/sen/bill/sb91

 

Implementation and research      

Kanton Zurich progresses with phosphorus recovery

Kanton Zurich, Switzerland, has announced a preliminary design study for a regional phosphorus recycling installation at Emmenspitz, Zuchwil, Switzerland, at the future regional waste resources recovery centre, to recover phosphorus as high-quality phosphoric acid from sewage sludge incineration ash. If the technical feasibility can be demonstrated within the framework of this study, then a full scale installation will be installed by 2026 (approx. 30 000 t/y, that is the ash from municipal sewage from a total of around 3.5 million population equivalent). The installation will use the process jointly developed by ZAR and Técnicas Reunidas in Madrid commissioned by the Canton of Zurich (see ESPP eNews n°12 and project report below). This uses sulphuric acid to solubilise phosphorus and other elements in the ash, then hydrochloric acid and solvent extraction to separate phosphorus acid from iron and heavy metals. Phosphorus is recovered as 74% phosphoric acid, which can be sold to fertiliser, technical or animal feed industries. Iron chloride solution is recovered for recycling as a phosphorus-removal / coagulant agent in waste water treatment plants and the process residue can be used in the cement industry.
“Klärschlamm in Rohstoff verwandeln: Neues Verfahren für industrielle Produktion geeignet”, 3rd June 2019, Kanton Zurich www.zh.ch/internet/de/aktuell/news/medienmitteilungen/2019/klaerschlamm-in-rohstoff-verwandeln-neues-verfahren-fuer-industrielle-produktion-geeignet.html
Phos4Life project final report, 4th June 2019, in German www.klaerschlamm.zh.ch

Bio-economy partnership strategy, new projects

The Bio-Based Industries Consortium, a 3.7 billion € EU – industry partnership, has published a 2050 “bio-society” vision document, and launched 18 further funded R&D projects. The vision paper emphasises food security, sustainability job creation and circular economy, underlining the need for circularity in agriculture “returning the necessary ingredients to the soil to increase  soil carbon … while furthering the use of compost as a fertiliser”. The newly funded projects include several which concern nutrient valorisation:
  • B-FERST “Bio-based FERtilising products as the best practice for agricultural management”, coordinated by Fertiberia with FCC Aqualia
  • DEEP-PURPLE “Conversion of diluted mixed urban bio-wastes into sustainable materials and products in flexible purple biorefineries”, coordinated by Aqualia
  • FARMYING “Flagship demonstration of industrial scale production of nutrient Resources from Mealworms to develop a bioeconomY New Generation” (Tenebrio molitor)
  • WASEABI “Optimal utilization of seafood side-streams through the design of new holistic process lines”, coordinated by the Danish National Food Institute
“BBI JU launches 18 new projects, celebrates its 100th project”, 10 May 2019 www.bbi-europe.eu/news/bbi-ju-launches-18-new-projects-celebrates-its-100th-project
“The circular bio-society in 2050”, BIC (Bio-based Industries Consortium) vision paper, June 2019 www.biconsortium.eu/sites/biconsortium.eu/files/documents/Vision%20for%20a%20circular%20bio-society%202050.pdf

Scientists push for enhanced efficiency fertilisers

A paper in Nature Sustainability suggests that the fertiliser industry should be required to sell a quota of “enhanced efficiency fertilisers” (EEFs). These are considered here as (1) slow and controlled release fertilisers, often achieved by enclosing the fertiliser granule in a polymer coating and (2) nitrogen inhibitors. Cited meta-analysis studies suggest that EEFs can increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by an average 13%, can increase yield by 5-15%, can reduce nitrogen leaching losses to groundwater as well as reducing farm labour costs (fewer fertiliser applications). The US has seen an increase of 10% in NUE over the past two decades, related to farming practices, but EFF’s represent today only around 13% of fertiliser sales. The authors suggest that policy could require the fertilisers industry to either sell a minimum percentage of EEFs, or to deliver a specified NUE (calculated on the basis of EEF efficiencies demonstrated in trials). They conclude that a 50% EEF sales obligation (by 2030), for US maize production only, would lead to US$ 300 million economic benefits for farmers, increased profits of US$ 160 million for the fertilisers industry and environmental benefits of US$ 8 billion (related to nitrogen losses). They note that questions must be addressed concerning the biodegradability of the polymer coatings used in controlled release fertilisers, and possible health and environmental effects of compounds used in EEFs.
“A technology-forcing approach to reduce nitrogen pollution”, D.  Kanter & T. Searchinger, Nature Sustainability, vol. 1, Oct. 2018, 544-552, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-018-0143-8

State of the art: digestate as fertiliser

A 60-page document by the German biogas association summarises information about use of digestate as fertiliser, with examples of operation of digestate processing. Nearly 130 million tonnes/year of digestate are produced by Europe’s biogas plants. Data on typical nutrient content of digestates is provided (phosphorus content 1 kgP / m3 for liquid digestate to 2.2 kgP/m3 for solid separated fraction 24% dry matter). Technologies for application of digestate to land are outlined, noting the need to minimize ammonia emissions, e.g. by injection into the soil (using slitters or digestate cultivators) or by acidification of the digestate. Digestate treatment processes are summarised: separation, drying, pelletising, biological treatment, evaporation, membrane filtration, phosphate salt precipitation, and ammonia stripping/recovery. Digestate marketing is discussed: nearly all liquid digestate in Germany is used in conventional agriculture, whereas over a quarter of processed digestate goes to specialist markets such as organic farming, landscaping and gardening, where a higher price can be obtained. Eight examples of biogas plants operating digestate processing worldwide are presented (phosphate salt recovery, digestate evaporation, dribble bar application (onto soil surface underneath crop), composting, membrane filtration, separation, nitrogen stripping) and a catalogue of processing technology suppliers.
“Digestate as fertilizer”, GIZ and Fachverband Biogas, ISSN 2626-3475, November 2018 www.digestate-as-fertilizer.com/Download/Digestate_as_Fertilizer.pdf
 

Science

Optimizing bio-based fertilisers in agriculture

New ESPP member, LEX4BIO is a Horizon 2020 R&D project, started 1st June 2019. The main goal of the project is to provide a knowledge-based on bio-based fertilisers, in order to secure safe and efficient use of nutrient rich-side streams in European agriculture, reducing the dependency on imported phosphorus fertilisers and energy intensive nitrogen fertilisers. The objectives are to optimise the usage of bio-based fertilisers from side-streams, ensure their safety, build evidence-based trust in their usage and develop legislative framework. LEX4BIO will collect and process regional nutrient stock, flow, surplus and deficiency data, and review and assess the required technological solutions. Furthermore, socioeconomic benefits and limitations to bio-based fertiliser use will be analysed. A deliverable of LEX4BIO will be a toolkit to optimise the use of bio-based fertilisers and to assess their environmental impact in terms of non-renewable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other LCA impact categories, In order to facilitate the connection between bio-based fertiliser production technologies and regional requirements.
LEX4BIO information https://forschung.boku.ac.at/fis/suchen.projekt_uebersicht?sprache_in=en&menue_id_in=300&id_in=12743


 

LCA shows how system boundaries change the answer

An life cycle analysis (LCA) from IRSTEA, Brittany, France, illustrates how the choice of ‘system boundaries’ can completely change the conclusions of such studies. This study compares the LCA of production of mineral fertiliser to four different processes for phosphate recovery from sewage (BioAcid, struvite precipitation, AshDec and Gifhorn). The study allocates (choice of LCA system boundaries) all environmental impacts related to wastewater collection, sewage treatment, sludge drying and disposal to the recovered phosphate production (per kg P), resulting in impacts up to 14 000 higher than mineral fertiliser production from mined phosphate rock. Other LCA studies published to date do not make this allocation, because they consider that the collection and treatment of municipal wastewater are in any case necessary (to protect water quality and to respect regulatory requirements) and are not driven by the objective of phosphate fertiliser production, and so they allocate only impacts of the phosphorus recovery process itself. The authors here discuss these different possible allocation (boundary setting) approaches. They conclude that even if only the phosphorus recovery process itself is considered, electricity, chemical reagent and infrastructure needs are still higher for P recovery from sewage/sludge, and that further work is needed to improve the efficiency of phosphorus recovery processes.
“Environmental impacts of phosphorus recovery from a “product” Life Cycle Assessment perspective: Allocating burdens of wastewater treatment in the production of sludge-based phosphate fertilizers”, M. Pradel, L. Aissani, Science of the Total Environment 656 (2019) 55–69 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.356
 

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The EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) is now finally published in the EU Official Journal of 25th June (in all EU official languages). This new regulation opens the European market for recycled fertilisers; and also for organic fertilisers, biostimulants, composts and digestate, which to date could only be sold under different national legislations. It thus also opens the European market for nutrient recycling technologies. Products which respect the new FRP criteria (CE-Mark) will benefit from the “single market” (can be sold anywhere in Europe) and further will automatically have End-of-Waste status. There is now a three year delay period before FRP implementation, that is before companies can place on the market CE-Mark fertilisers – but companies wishing to be ready in three years should start preparations now. The new FRP is flexible, in that the European Commission can add further products and materials by a comitology process. The JRC “STRUBIAS” report (struvite and recovered phosphate salts, biochars and pyrolysis materials, ash-based materials) is expected to be published soon, and these materials are expected to be added to the FRP annexes by end 2019 – early 2020. Work will now also start to define a list of animal by-products (and ABP end-points) to be integrated into the FPR, for which CMC10 “Animal By-Products” is currently an empty box. The European Commission is also working on testing methods and standards to accompany the new FRP, a ‘Questions and Answers” document to explain how the regulation works, guidance on FRP product labelling, and definition of criteria for “By-Products” for CMC11 (industrial by-products, organic or food by-products … other than animal by-products). To input to these activities, please contact ESPP.

EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) publication text https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2019:170:TOC

It is our understanding that the addition of “digestate” to the list of materials exempted from the obligation of REACH Registration (Annex V) has finally been approved (Member States CARACAL Committee 17th May 2019), and the Regulation formalising this is expected to be published in July 2019. The modification of REACH (the European Chemicals Regulation) adds simply the word “digestate” to the list of materials exempted from registration (after compost and biogas, which were already specified). However, the Regulation making this modification gives more details, defining digestate as “a residual semisolid or liquid material that has been sanitised and stabilised by a biological treatment process, of which the last step is an anaerobic digestion step, and where the inputs used in that process are biodegradable materials originating only from non-hazardous source segregated materials, such as food waste, manure and energy crops”. The Regulation indicates that no REACH registrations for digestate have been submitted, but that this modification will remove uncertainties for producers and users of digestate and for enforcement authorities. This exemption of digestate in REACH Annex V was requested from the European Commission by the European Biogas Association and the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) in 2014.

Draft Regulation adding ‘digestate’ to the REACH Annex V exemptions from registration: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/tbt/en/search/?tbtaction=search.detail&Country_ID=EU&num=630

The Italy Government has entrusted to ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) the objective of establishing an Italy Phosphorus Platform. A launch meeting at the Italy Environment Ministry, Rome, on 26th March, brought together around fifty participants. The platform objectives cover all aspects of phosphorus sustainability: P in the food chain, optimising P use, recycling in organic materials and in mineral fertilisers, high tech uses of P such as batteries and fire safety. Four work-packages are engaged, each with an ENEA coordinator: WG1 = Market and added value for recycled phosphorus (), WG2 = Technologies and Best Practices (), WG3 = Legislation – regulatory obstacles (), WG4 = Promotion and long-term sustainability (). An objective of the platform is to propose an R&D / innovation agenda, proposing innovation funding and support. Project deliverables for 2019 include a summary of EU policies and initiatives on phosphorus, an analysis of phosphorus flows in Italy (markets, supply, demand), a catalogue of technologies for phosphorus recovery and of best management practices, reports on the legislative framework and regulatory and policy proposals. WGs 1-3 have as deliverables by end 2019 reports of conclusions, with proposed actions. Deliverables of WG4 include, by end 2019, to identify organisations willing to participant in the Italy Phosphorus Platform as founding members and to define an operating scenario and budget. To date, around fifty organisations have expressed interest to join the new platform.

The first Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE, 5-6 June 2019, Brussels) brought together, for the first time ever, the European carbon-based fertiliser sector, and attracted over 125 participants, from industry (two thirds of participants), regulators, stakeholders and R&D, covering 14 European countries, as well as India and North America. The workshop addressed industry and markets for added-value organic fertiliser products, agronomic evidence of carbon-based fertilisers impacts on crops and on soils, and opportunities and challenges for industry from developments in European regulations. Discussions underlined that organic and mineral fertilisers are complementary products and confirmed the need to deliver consistent and quality products to farmers, adapted to agronomic requirements and to practical considerations. Market opportunities identified include the development of Certified Organic Farming (an added-value market for appropriately produced carbon-based fertilisers), links to innovative bio-stimulant products, increasing recognition of the importance of soil organic carbon and development of the circular economy for nutrients and carbon. These markets will be considerably changed by the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation which will enable export within Europe (new CE-Mark opening a ‘single’ EU market).

SOFIE was organised by ESPP in partnership with the International Fertiliser Society (IFS). Meeting slides are online here and a full conference conclusions and summary (SCOPE Newsletter N°130) will be published shortly www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019 

SOFIE2019 logo

N2 Applied is a Norwegian technology development company, with the head office in Oslo and a test centre in Svene. N2 Applied is a catalyst and an incubator for high-tech initiatives related to nitrogen. N2 Applied has developed technology to enable on-farm processing of manure or biogas digestate to produce a nitrogen fertiliser. Using renewable electricity and air, a plasma reactor fixes nitrogen by splitting the N2 and O2 molecules in air into N and O atoms to generate nitrogen oxides. These nitrogen oxides react with ammonia in manure or digestate to form ammonium nitrate, so lowering pH and stabilising the nitrogen, reducing ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions during storage and field application. After solid/liquid separation the liquid fraction of manure or digestate can be managed as a liquid nitrogen fertiliser, compatible with organic farming (depending on the manure and digestate substrate inputs). Most of the phosphorus will remain in the solid fraction. N2 Applied joins the ESPP network to share knowledge and collaborate on efficient and sustainable nutrient management in agriculture.

N2 Applied website www.n2applied.no
See also: “Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing”, Graves et al., Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, Jan. 2019, vol. 39, Issue 1, pp 1–19 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11090-018-9944-9

N2 Applied short

ESPP has published a draft “Phosphorus Fact Sheet”. The objective is to provide in a readily accessible form, supported by reference sources, key numbers and data relating to phosphorus production, uses, environmental impacts and recycling, in order to offer in one place answers to often asked questions. This responds to the issue that for many aspects of the phosphorus cycle, data is not easily available, or published data is contradictory or out of date, or confusing because of use of different units (tonnes of rock, of phosphorus, of P2O5 …). Best estimates are made of how much phosphorus goes to different applications: agriculture (much the biggest use: c. 87% to fertilisers and 7% to animal feed), fire safety, batteries, food and beverage … Estimates are also provided on phosphorus in food, in sewage, phosphorus “use efficiency” … The objective is not to have fully scientifically justified numbers, but estimates which are considered realistic by competent stakeholders. Any comments are welcome: on the estimated data, on the sources used, or for other data on aspects of phosphorus management which it would be useful to include.

ESPP Phosphorus Fact Sheet for comment https://phosphorusplatform.eu/images/download/ESPP-Phosphorus-fact-sheet-v21-4-19.pdf

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

Please subscribe www.phosphorusplatform.eu/Subscribe 
Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews033
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Events and conferences
Leading organic fertiliser companies will meet at first summit
Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
CRU “Phosphates 2019” Conference, March 2019
Calls, consultations and projects
ManuResource 2019 - call for papers open to 31st May
Phosphorus Fact Sheet – for comment
ECHA consultation open on microplastics may impact fertilisers
US phosphorus platform launches “Challenge”
SYSTEMIC survey on digestate treatment
LIFE-CHIMERA chicken manure to fertiliser survey
Call for papers: resource recovery from waste water
Projects
Local farmers group develops dairy farm nutrient tool
Nutrient recycling for organic farming
European policies
EU Fertilisers Regulation status
NGOs and industry show common aims for Water Framework Directive refit
Individuals rights to action under the Nitrates Directive
EU strategy on pharmaceuticals in the environment
New ESPP member
N2 Applied joins ESPP
United Nations moves forward on nitrogen cycle
United Nations conclusion meeting of GEF nitrogen project
United Nations resolution on nutrient management
Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM)
Nutrient and organics recycling
Netherlands fertiliser industry supports mineral - organics synergy
Recovered nitrogen salt solutions compared to commercial fertilisers
ECN – Vlaco workshop on composts and digestates
ECN report on biowaste management in Europe
Supercritical Water Gasification of sewage sludge
Finnish Quality Assurance Scheme for organic recycled nutrient products is published
Food policy
Should phosphorus be included in food labelling?
NGOs call for EU food policy
ESPP members
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The final endorsement of the EU Fertilising Productions Regulation (FPR) is expected in Council before end May and publication of the Regulation in the Official Journal before end June 2019. There will then be a three year delay period before implementation, that is before companies can place on the market CE-Mark fertilisers. The JRC “STRUBIAS” report (struvite and recovered phosphate salts, biochars and pyrolysis materials, ash-based materials) is expected to be published at the same time, and then the European Commission will launch the necessary comitology processes to validate FPR annexe texts to bring these products into the FPR. ESPP participated at the EU Fertilisers Working Group meeting of 10th May which progressed a number of questions concerning implementation of the FPR, including:

  • Defining agronomic and safety criteria for by-products (CMC11 of the FPR). It was clarified that this concerns both industrial by-products but also organic by-products (plant materials, food industry by-products - but not Animal By-Products, composts or digestates covered in specific CMCs) where such materials are used as components of future CE-mark fertilising products (as defined under the FPR, this includes soil improvers, liming materials, biostimulants …). It was also clarified that this should concern agronomic “indirect” value, in a wide sense, so as to not exclude by-products used in fertilising products for non-agronomic purposes (such as additives used in processing, such as anti-caking or pelleting agents).
  • Mandate to CEN to develop harmonised standards for testing methods, to accompany FPR implementation and CE-Mark validation. The current draft list of required new standards can be consulted at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory This mandate is expected to be transmitted to CEN very rapidly after FPR publication.
  • ESPP notes that the Commission proposes to request CEN to develop standards to determine the “organic nitrogen content” of organic fertilisers, soil improvers, etc., which be transposable to discussions of “processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive.
  • Preparation of a European Commission “FAQ” (frequently asked questions and answers) document on the FPR. This is proposed to replace the ‘Implementation Guide’ requested by ESPP and industry. Please send to ESPP any questions concerning understanding and implementation of the FRP which you think it would be useful to include in such a document, and ESPP can forward to the European Commission.

EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR) final adopted text: www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2019-0306+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN

Join and register now:

SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic and Organo0mineral Fertiliser Industry in Europe
Organised by ESPP in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society)

Brussels, Belgium (within walking distance of Gare du Midi and Gare Centrale)
Wednesday 5th 14h00 – Thursday 6th June 16h30

The first Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE) is promising to be an interesting meeting, bringing together different parts of the fertiliser industry (organic, organo-mineral, mineral) and agronomists

The conference includes presentation of the new European Fertilisers Regulation by the European Commission DG GROW, and discussion of implementation and new standards for organic and organo-mineral fertilisers.

By bringing together organic and organo-mineral fertiliser producers from across Europe and beyond, to dialogue with agronomists and regulators, this first Summit will enable dialogue on application, product and market development, and aims to help move nutrient recycling towards identifying farmers needs and how secondary nutrients can be processed into forms with a market.

The programme is now complete, see www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019

Speakers and participants registered to date include leading organic and organo-mineral fertiliser manufacturers (CEOs, agronomic or development directors), agronomic / fertiliser scientists, legal experts and the European Commission:

  • Fertikal, 4R Group, Biolan Oy, SoilFood Oy, SILC Fertilizzanti, Agaris, Mestoffen NL, Roullier, AgroPower Düngmittel, Biomasa Peninsular, Culterra, AgroAmerica, Benefert, Ferm-O-Feed, Sustane Natural Fertiliser Inc, Rothamsted, ADAS, Wageningen, Yara, CSIC Spain, UNIFA, ECOFI, Eurofema, GME, Fertilizers Europe, ECN, AFAIA, N2-Applied, Incover, Humintrade Srl, DG GROW …

Stands for R&D projects are possible at 900€. Also enables contacts with delegates at the parallel IFS (International Fertiliser Society) conference. Contact

Registration for SOFIE: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sofie-organic-fertilizers-summit-tickets-55703185728

All up to date information and draft programme can be found at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019

SOFIE2019 logo

SCOPE Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

Please subscribe www.phosphorusplatform.eu/Subscribe
Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SCOPE129
Earlier SCOPE editions www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SCOPEnewsletter

In this SCOPE Newsletter:

  • Review papers on new fertilisers
  • State of science on sewage biosolids
  • Assessment of biosolids on farmland
  • P-removal technology trials results published
  • IFS Conference: leading science in sustainable farming
  • Calcium phosphate food additives and health
  • Phosphorus recycling technology tour
  • Summary of German and Swiss legislations relevant to phosphorus recycling

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

Please subscribe www.phosphorusplatform.eu/Subscribe
Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews032
Download as PDF

Upcoming events and calls for papers
Programme finalised for organic fertilisers summit
Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality
Call for papers: resource recovery from waste water
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
EU Fertilisers Regulation
Commission call for comments on criteria for “by-products”
New EU Fertilisers Regulation finally adopted
Sewage biosolids and manure
EU SafeManure study update
Audit says US EPA not adequately risk assessing biosolids
Long-term plant availability of phosphorus from sewage biosolids
Long-term field test show benefits of organics
Science review on manure-based fertilisers phosphorus efficiency
Achieving demanding pollutant removal requirements in Sweden sewage works
R&D opportunities
Leibniz Phosphorus Campus Rostock opens 14 PhDs
Update on EU R&D funding and Horizon Europe
Regulation and policy
EU takes Cyprus, Italy, Greece and Slovenia to court on nutrients
EU Water Framework Directive compliance report concludes “very challenging”
US promotes nutrient recycling and water quality trading
UN identifies nitrogen cycle a key emerging environmental issue
Webinars and information
GWRC webcast and compendium on phosphorus recovery technologies
SPA video summaries of phosphorus research
Global Nutrient Management Toolbox
ESPP members
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Wim Debeuckelaere, European Commission (EC) DG Environment, has provided an update of the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) “SafeManure” study, which aims to define criteria for allowing certain nitrogen fertilisers derived (wholly or partly) from manure to be not treated as ‘processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive (see ESPP eNews n°23). The study will include analysis and comparative testing of different fertilisers recovered from nutrients (identified to date: 86 materials from 7 sites in Italy, 11 in the Netherlands and 1 in Denmark, covering raw manure, solid/liquid fractions, digestate, reverse osmosis/mineral concentrates and nitrogen salts recovered from stripping). A review of existing literature has identified (to date) less than 20 relevant studies or reports, noting in particular a lack of data concerning the composition of processed manure products, nitrogen release kinetics, environmental and health issues and a lack of experimental evidence comparing nitrogen leaching or plant fertiliser effectiveness of recycled nutrient products to mineral fertilisers. In particular, comparative trials are lacking for recovered nitrogen salts and struvite. ESPP suggests that this is unsurprising: there is no reason to compare e.g. recovered ammonium sulphate with synthetic ammonium sulphate because it is the same chemical, and the many published tests on struvite do not look at the nitrogen release because struvite is a phosphate fertiliser. The project planning anticipates biogeochemical modelling and pot trials in Spring 2019, field tests in Spring and Autumn 2019 and a draft report and stakeholder workshop and 2019/early 2020.

Input of further data, existing studies and reports or material analysis are welcome. The full list of studies already submitted to and analysed by JRC is at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory DG ENVI slides, BioRefine ESNI conference Brussels 22 January www.biorefine.eu/esni-2019

The European Commission has circulated a call for input (from members of the EU Fertilisers Working Group) on “criteria on agronomic efficiency and safety for by-products”, that is “for the use of by-products as fertilising products” under the new EU Fertilisers Regulation. The new Regulation specifies that the Commission must adopt a ‘delegated act’ fixing these criteria within three years. This call for comments is the first stage of input to this process. A two and a half page document by the European Commission, open to comment until 19th April 2019, recalls the definition of by-products in the Waste Framework Directive and reminds that under the new Fertilisers Regulation by-products can (under certain conditions) be used directly in fertilisers (the by-product is itself a ‘CMC’) or be reacted with other materials before use (the product resulting from the reaction is the ‘CMC’). The document poses the following questions: safety or agronomic criteria or specific restrictions for by-products used in fertilising products in national regulations, list of authorised by-products for use in fertilising products (including origin industries), which by-products are currently used (and market size, nutrient content or other function …), application of the Waste Framework Directive.

European Commission call for input on future “Criteria on agronomic efficiency and safety for by-products” under the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation https://circabc.europa.eu/ui/group/36ec94c7-575b-44dc-a6e9-4ace02907f2f/library/ce26e854-5970-4ee6-b1ee-5decfd37515c/details

Please send as soon as possible any relevant information or documents, which we can use in our response to this call for input, to ESPP

The European Parliament has concluded the legislative adoption of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation, by validating the “trilogue” compromise text in a plenary vote on 27th March. This new Regulation will open the European market for recycled nutrient products, and also for nutrient recycling technologies. It covers organic, organo-mineral and mineral fertilisers, composts, digestates, food industry by-products, as well as other products such as liming materials and fertiliser polymers. Because this is a ‘Regulation’, it will be applicable across Europe without requiring Member State transposition. However, it will only be fully applicable three years after publication, to allow time for implementation. After that date, any EU Fertilising Product can be sold in any EU country. Member States will also have the continuing possibility to authorise other products in their country as ‘national’ fertilisers. A ‘clean’ version of the final EU Fertilisers Regulation text is not yet available, but the adopted version can be consulted here. The adopted text does not cover struvite and recovered phosphate salts, ashes and ash-derived products, nor biochars / pyrolysis materials. These should be added to the Regulation after adoption by the European Commission, logically as proposed in the JRC STRUBIAS (final report not yet published).

Final ‘trilogue’ agreed text: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-15103-2018-INIT/en/pdf
Final text adopted by European Parliament 27th March 2019 www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2019-0306+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN (NOTE: it is our understanding that these two texts should be the same, but the layout is different)

More than 50 companies, organisations and scientifists have signed a statement to support the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The proposed tool would ensure that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation, using either an “app” developed and provided by the EU or other compatible existing national or private tools. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient calculation in place. ESPP has communicated the position to relevant MEPs (European Parliament) and Council (Member States).

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients)
https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/a2be04f2-fb29-4545-9355-85e9f8738170/4c%20-%20FaST.pptx

Online “demonstrator” www.rebrand.ly/fast-demonstrator

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25 www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews025

European Commission proposal for new CAP https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy/future-cap_en

Position supporting the FaST proposal www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory

ESPP made input to the public consultation on the EU Ecolabel scheme suggesting that Ecolabels be developed for fertilising products (fertilisers, soil improvers, biostimulants ..), in coherence with the new EH Fertilising Products Regulation. ESPP also supported application of the Ecolabel to the food & beverage sector (because of its footprint on phosphorus use and losses).

EU public consultation on EU Ecolabel scheme to 3rd March 2019: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm

ESPP is collecting support for maintaining the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The objective is to demonstrate science and industry support for this initiative, which will ensure and facilitate that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient balance calculation in place. The Commission’s FaST proposal includes development of a smart phone tool, made available to farmers, which will provide information on applicable regulations and enable entry of nutrient data, field by field. Member States and farmers will also be free to use other existing tools to enter their nutrient balance, subject to reporting compatibility (e.g. national nutrient balance systems, farm advisory service tools …). ESPP is asking the European Parliament and Member States to maintain the FaST nutrient tool in the new CAP as a mandatory condition for all farmers receiving EU subsidies. Organisation wishing to support this, please sign the joint statement available at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory (under “Common Agricultural Policy” and send to , including name of your organisation, logo of organisation, and name and email of person to be included as contact.

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients) https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/a2be04f2-fb29-4545-9355-85e9f8738170/4c%20-%20FaST.pptx and online “demonstrator” www.rebrand.ly/fast-demonstrator

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25 www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews025

European Commission proposal for new CAP https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy/future-cap_en

SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe
Organised by ESPP in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society)

Brussels, Belgium (within walking distance of Gare du Midi and Gare Centrale)
Wednesday 5th 14h00 – Thursday 6th June 16h30

All up to date information and draft programme can be found at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/SOFIE2019

SOFIE2019 logo

SOFIE 2019 takes place back to the IFS Technical Conference 4th June lunch – 5th June lunch

Registration

Please register via this link: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sofie-organic-fertilizers-summit-tickets-55703185728

The key target for this conference is industry, that is manufacturers, distributors and importers of organic fertilising products, although speakers will include leading agronomists and regulators. The registration fee structure is therefore fixed as follows (inclusive of VAT, includes networking light dinner cocktail after the conference 5th June and lunch 6th June)

  • Special industry rate = 185 €
    Reserved for SMEs and farmers cooperatives producing or distributing organic fertilisers
  • Reduced price = 125€
    Reserved for Members of ESPP or of IFS, paying registrants at IFS Technical Conference
  • Standard registration = 450 €

Stands (industry, research, other selected organisations which are partners of SOFIE …):
900 € inc. VAT (-50% for ESPP members)

Proposals for speakers or stands are welcome

 

SOFIE2019 logoIFS logo epss logo narrow

ICL Fertilizers, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies and a founding member of ESPP, is organising an official opening event for phosphate recycling installations at their Amsterdam mineral fertiliser factory, March 7th 2019. The installation will enable use of bone meal ash and sewage sludge incineration ash as raw materials in commercial phosphate fertiliser production. Speakers will include the North Holland Province, which provided financial support to this project, and the Chair of the Netherlands chemicals industry federation VCNI.

To participate:

The European Commission JRC has renewed a call for study data or publications concerning the agronomic effects of processed manure or fertiliser products recycled from manure. This is part of the DG ENVI “SafeManure” study addressing application limits for recycled fertilisers produced from manure (“processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive). The data must include experimental data (pot or field trials, leaching tests … not only review) comparing processed manure / manure recycled product to mineral fertiliser and to a control.

JRC is interested in any nitrogen-containing material recovered from or processed from any type of animal manure, slurry or litter, with manure only as input material or manure mixed with other materials (minimum c. 10% manure): including e.g. mineral products recovered from manure processing (such as struvite or other precipitated salts containing nitrogen, ammonium salts recovered from biogas …), “mineral concentrates” (from membrane separation), digestate, compost, dried - pelletised – or limed manure or similar, manure ashes / processed ashes, biochars / pyrolysis materials, etc.

Data should address, in conditions relevant for Europe, one or more of the following: nitrogen plant uptake / efficiency / impact on crop yield, and/or nitrogen leaching. For e.g. struvite, data should enable to relate crop yield to nitrogen application (not only to phosphorus). The objective is to compare the agronomic performance and/or potential environmental impacts of the nitrogen present in the processed manure materials to those of mineral nitrogen fertilisers. The mineral fertilisers compared may be the same as the recovered product (e.g. comparison of ammonium sulphate from digester gas stripping with synthetic ammonium sulphate) or may be different (e.g. comparison of synthetic urea with dried manure). Information provided should be in English or and English summary/translation must be provided (e.g. summary and translation of headers of data tables). Full pdfs of literature should be provided.

You can check a list of studies already received by JRC at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory (under “SafeManure documents”), indicating which studies have been assessed to be useable (24 to date) and which have been rejected (and why).

Please send any relevant data by 10th February 2019 to: (unless data is confidential) and we will forward to the European Commission (JRC).

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