SUBSCRIBE to our eNews and SCOPE Newsletter


Read earlier SCOPE and eNews editions.

The new edition number 125 of the SCOPE newsletter is now online here:

Earlier edition can be found here:

To subscribe:


ESPP is facilitating at ManuREsource conference (Eindhoven, NL, 27-28 November) a Round Table on the EU Nitrates Directive and manure “in a processed form".

  • This will discuss the possible process to evaluate whether some recycled manure nutrient products should be treated like mineral fertilisers under the Nitrates Directive. The EU Nitrates Committee and the European Commission are considering engaging such an evaluation, possibly looking at the agronomic behaviour, fertiliser efficiency, risk of nitrate or phosphorus losses, and also other environmental impacts such as atmospheric emissions and overall life cycle analysis. The round table will address which manure recovered products could be concerned, definitions and criteria for such products, what data is available or needed. European Commission participation is expected.
  • This round table, 11h-13h on Tuesday 28th November, will be limited to 40 participants. To participate, you must register for ManuREsource then email the organisers indicating your wish to participate in this round table.


Steve Rowe of Newtrient (see ESPP’s SCOPE Newsletter n°125) will present at ManuREsource the US dairy industry (see ). ESPP is facilitating at ManuREsource conference (Eindhoven, NL, 27-28 November) one-to-one meetings to take forward extension of this catalogue to Europe, evaluation of further treatment technologies. For this, please register for the Conference then use the ManuREsource “matchmaking” page.

ESPP - IFOAM European stakeholder meeting on Acceptance and value of recycled fertilisers in organic farming, 12th December – Brussels.


Orgnaised in collaboration with IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.
All day meeting 12th December 2017, 9h00 - 17h30 followed by neworking drinks.

The meeting will discuss:
 - need for phosphorus inputs to organic farming
 - ecological coherence of using recycling nutrient sources in organic agriculture
 - acceptability of different secondary materials and recycled products for the organic farming movement, organic food distributors and consumers.

Proposals for speakers, input or invitees are welcome.
Posters are invited: please indicate title of your poster in your registration.
Please note that you will receive programme and venue details, later nearer the event date, directly from ESPP, not with the EventBrite registration confirmation.

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

Please subscribe 
Link to
Download as PDF

STRUBIAS proposals for EU Fertilisers Regulation
White phosphorus (P4) added to EU Critical Raw Materials list
Swiss Mineral Recycled Fertiliser Regulation
Stakeholder meeting on EU Fertiliser Regulation
ESPP input to EU consultation on microplastics
Media and conferences
German Phosphorus Platform: new board and national conference
EEA blames big livestock farms for ammonia emission violations
ECN Biowaste in the Circular Economy conference
Circular use of by-products in the fertiliser industry
Nutrient circular economy success stories
SPA Webinar on Water Quality Trading In North America
Research and projects
RAVITA post-precipitation, phosphorus and nitrogen recovery from sewage
Low heavy metals in secondary nutrient products
Pharmaceuticals in secondary nutrient products
Adjusting pH of organic materials to improve nutrient availability
1 million US$ for marine macroalgae projects
Water2REturn: nutrient recycling from slaughterhouse wastes
Review of agronomic effects of phosphites
Review of nutrient recovery technologies from digestate
Success stories
Dutch struvite shipped to cacao plantation Dominican Republic
Parisette: sustainable public loos for Paris
Food waste to protein wins BBC food & farming award
Bioenergy wood ash recycling closes nutrient cycle
ESPP Members

ESPP has responded to the European Commission public consultation on policy options to reduce microplastics release to the environment (consultation open to 16th October 2017). ESPP notes that although current concern is principally about microplastics in surface waters and oceans, some microplastics will also be found in organic recycling streams such as sewage biosolids or compost or digestate from food waste. Possible impacts on terrestrial ecology should therefore be studied in order to avoid future obstacles to the nutrient Circular Economy. ESPP suggests to collect data on microplastics in organic recycling streams, develop monitoring methods for microplastics in organic streams and in soils, study their fate and possible impacts in soil/crop systems, investigate possibilities for removing microplastics in organic waste treatment and recycling processes, and develop risk assessments of microplastics in nutrient recycling, in particular to support the EU Fertiliser Regulation.

EU public consultation on microplastics open to 16th October 2017. ESPP input here and at

The European Commission has published an update to the EU Critical Raw Materials list, identifying “raw materials with a high supply-risk and a high economic importance to which reliable and unhindered access is a concern for European industry and value chains”. This third version of the list (first published in 2011, 2014) now lists 27 Critical Raw Materials, following a detailed assessment conducted by external consultants (TNO), Commission expertise and stakeholder consultation, and using a methodology which has been improved to take into account trade factors, different industry sector uses and substitution potential (possible nutrient recycling in the case of phosphate rock). The 2014 list included phosphate rock, representing phosphorus (in any form) essential for food production in mineral fertilisers, animal feed minerals and imported animal fodder. Phosphate rock is maintained in the 2017 list, and following input from ESPP and industry, the specific form white phosphorus (P4) is also added to the list. P4 is essential to a number of added-value chemical sectors, such as fire safety, lubricants, polymer additives, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, catalysts, metal processing and is produced in specific production installations. Europe’s last such installation closed in 2012 (Thermphos, NL), leaving these sectors of EU industry totally dependent on imports of P4 or P4 derivatives from Vietnam, China or Kazakhstan. ESPP welcomes the inclusion of P4 onto the Critical Raw Materials list because this will stimulate development of processes to upcycle P4 from secondary raw materials, so contributing to the Nutrient Circular Economy, creating jobs in the EU and reducing import dependency of high-value EU industry sectors. ICL, for example, is developing industrial implementation of the RECOPHOS process, tested at pilot scale in Leoben, Austria, with EU FP7 R&D funding.

COM(2017)490 “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the 2017 list of Critical Raw Materials for the EU”, 13th September 2017

ESPP has submitted comments to the European Commission’s draft proposals for EU criteria for recovered struvite and phosphate salts, recycling of ashes and for biochars, as CE Fertilisers under the revision of the EU Fertilisers Regulation (STRUBIAS). ESPP’s comments include input from stakeholder meeting in Brussels last week, organised by the platform, at which over 100 participants from industry, regulators, EU services, environmental and agricultural NGOs and research discussed the STRUBIAS proposals (slides).  ESPP welcomes that progress is being made towards Europe-wide authorisation of these materials as fertilisers, because this will facilitate the Nutrient Circular Economy, and open the EU market for nutrient recycling technologies. ESPP fully supports the need to ensure that all recycled fertilisers are safe for health and the environment, and offer agronomic qualities for farmers, but suggests that the criteria for recycled products (in CMCs) should not duplicate criteria already applicable to all CE Fertilisers placed on the market (PFCs). ESPP also expresses concern about unnecessary complication and multiplication of criteria which will prevent innovation and confuse implementation, for example for process/time for biochars (instead of using simple indicators of process efficiency in degrading organics, or complex mineral ratios for types of ashes which are already widely used as fertilisers such as meat and bone meal ash). ESPP expresses particular concerns about the proposed criteria for recycling ashes into industrial fertiliser production. This should be an important phosphorus recycling route, as legislation comes into place in Germany and Switzerland requiring phosphorus recycling from sewage, because 2/3 and 100% respectively of sewage sludge is incinerated in these countries, so that phosphorus recovery will be from ash. The wording currently proposed will exclude all phosphorus recycling routes from sewage sludge incineration ashes which are today operational (Zurich process via phosphoric acid production, AshDec thermal recovery, Ecophos process via hydrochloric extraction, use of ash in existing phosphate rock processing fertiliser factories) – not for any reason of safety, but because of inappropriate wording (excluding use of various chemicals in processing) and because of the mechanism of criteria application. This problem is indicative of fundamental cracks in the architecture of the Fertilisers Regulation, similar to overlooking the use of industrial by-products in mineral fertiliser production: the current wording of the Regulation will exclude most phosphate fertilisers currently sold in Europe, because sulfuric acid used in their manufacture is a by-product of oil refining. A European Parliament amendment (IMCO 281) attempts to “patch over” this emission for industrial by-products, but the same flaw poses problems for processing ashes. ESPP believes that use of ashes in fertiliser production processes, to replace imported phosphate rock, should be facilitated by applying the same criteria as for manufacture of fertilisers from virgin materials, subject to ensuring that possible incineration-generated contaminants (dioxins, PAH) are monitored in the ash and not introduced into the environment. This is an important route to accelerate the Nutrient Circular Economy and reduce EU dependency on imported phosphate rock, which is on the EU Critical Raw Materials List.

The European Commission’s STRUBIAS proposals for EU Fertiliser Regulation criteria for struvite / phosphate salts, ashes and biochars, and ESPP’s comments are available at

The EU-funded LIFE project ENRICH (Enhanced Nitrogen and phosphorus Recovery in the value CHain), Sept. 2017 – Feb. 2021, will design, develop and implement integrated nutrient recovery and recycling in the sewage sludge recycling train of the Murcia Este municipal sewage works, Spain (500 000 p.e.) which operates biological phosphate removal. The project will include sludge elutriation to increase availability of soluble phosphorus and so increase the proportion of total sludge phosphorus recovered by struvite precipitation. Additionally are included ion exchange with zeolites (demonstrated high affinity for ammonium) combined with hollow fibre INPI membrane contactors for the recovery of ammonium salts, promotion of digested sewage sludge as a source of nutrients and organic carbon for agriculture, and optimised mixing of struvite – ammonium salts – digested sludge to correspond to agronomic requirements. The recovered products will be tested in field trials and a replicable business model will be developed. Membership of ESPP enables ENRICH to exchange experience with other relevant projects and companies (recycling technology suppliers, organic and mineral fertiliser industries and R&D centres) and to disseminate project results widely, both in Europe and worldwide, through ESPP’s communication tools (eNews, SCOPE Newsletter, website, Twitter) and specialist networks and meetings.

ENRICH is led by Cetaqua, the Suez – Barcelona Technical University, CSIC water technology research centre. Contact

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) announced the launch of a new Thematic Group (TG) on ‘Sustainable management of water and soils’ within the broader multi-annual ENRD priority of ‘Supporting the transition to a green economy in rural areas’. This new TG will build upon the work carried out by the TG on Resource Efficient Rural Economy. In this TG, over the past year key rural development stakeholders actively discussed means of support for the integration of resource efficient activities in the implementation of rural development programmes, including topics such as soil, nutrients, carbon and water management (see eNews n° 11 and final TG report pending). The new TG will further investigate how to improve rural development policy implementation. It will work through 2017 and the first half of 2018 with the aim of providing specific recommendations on how Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) can best address issues related to water management, covering both its supply and quality, and soil management in agriculture as well as relevant aspects such as nutrient management plans. The new TG will bring together representatives of different stakeholder and beneficiary organisations, managing authorities and funding agencies, who will come together at regular intervals for four meetings and one final EU-level seminar. The first meeting of the group is planned for the 24th October 2017 in Brussels.

If you are interested in participating in this new TG or wish to be kept informed, please contact , or register at as soon as possible (preferably by 28th August 2017)

The JRC ‘STRUBIAS’ proposed criteria for integrating ashes (as recycled nutrient fertilisers) into the revised EU Fertiliser Regulation effectively exclude sewage sludge incineration ash. The JRC proposals target only the use of ash directly on fields (e.g. after granulation or blending) but do not cover the use of ash as an input ingredient into a chemical / industrial process. The JRC proposals therefore fix contaminant limits and nutrient plant availability requirements which are appropriate for ash being used directly on fields, but are irrelevant if the ash is being chemically processed (contaminants can be removed, nutrients transformed into different forms). However, fertilisers using ashes as a production ingredient are currently excluded from the revised Fertilisers Regulations (CMC1 excludes wastes as inputs). ESPP has therefore developed proposed criteria for “ash as a process ingredient” to propose to the EU Fertiliser Regulation process. These raise questions concerning End-of-Waste, REACH, fate of removed contaminants and intermediates (e.g. phosphoric acid is recovered from ash, then re-processed to produce fertiliser). Input and comments to these ESPP proposals are invited by email:

JRC proposed Fertiliser Regulation criteria (“nutrient recovery rules”) for struvite (and other phosphate precipitates), biochars and ash (STRUBIAS) and ESPP proposals for “ash-as-an-ingredient” in the revised EU Fertilisers Regulations, for comment

The EU Nitrates Directive specifies application limits for manure “even in a processed form” which are lower than those for mineral fertilisers. This is currently implemented differently across EU Member States, e.g. digestate or compost where manure is only a trace input can be limited as “processed manure”, or mineral fertiliser products produced from manure such as precipitated phosphates or ammonia salts from gas stripping can be subject to lower limits than similar mineral fertilisers produced from virgin materials. This can discriminate against recycled nutrient products made from or partly made from manure, by creating regulatory uncertainty, incoherence between different countries and regions or by more favourable application limits for virgin mineral fertilisers. ESPP is developing proposals to address this, whilst continuing to support the Nitrates Directives objectives of environmental protection and prevention of nutrient losses to surface and ground waters. Input to ESPP’s proposals is invited by email:

For further explanation see SCOPE Newsletter n° 100 - draft ESPP proposals concerning recycled nutrient products from manure (manure in a “processed form”) under the Nitrates Directive - for comments

Budenheim is a global specialty chemicals company with long-term phosphate expertise. The company has production sites in Budenheim (Germany), Shanghai (China), Monterrey (Mexico), Columbus (USA), La Zaida and Valencia (Spain). Building on an innovative portfolio of products and services, Budenheim offers sustainable solutions for a broad range of applications. These include the fields of nutrition, health, safety, and preservation of resources. Budenheim generated revenue of several hundred million over the past year and has a worldwide workforce of around 1.100 employees. Budenheim has joined the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) because it brings together companies and stakeholders to address the need to secure phosphate resources for the future. In this community of like-minded partners, Budenheim is setting a new benchmark in raw material recycling by re-introducing phosphorus in the nutrient cycle, through the ExtraPhos® process (see below). As a member of ESPP, Budenheim acts to save global resources and to help secure the basis of our existence.

See for more information

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

Please subscribe 
Link to
Download as PDF

Input to policy
For comment: Nitrates Directive recycled nutrient products from manure
For comment: proposals for ash-based products in the EU Fertiliser Regulation
EU consultation on micro-plastics
New ESPP members
Policy and media
Key Environmental Indicators for BAT
Sri Lanka acts for agricultural climate and phosphorus resilience
Water industry calls to address nitrate pollution and pharmaceuticals
World leaders address eutrophication at Ocean Conference
UNEP project for nutrient stewardship in Romania
Research and innovation
Networking nutrient recycling R&D
EU R&D funding opportunities
LIFE TL-Biofer nutrient recovery from sewage by microalgae
Budenheim ExtraPhos® pilot phosphorus recycling plant inaugurated
Italmatch LIFE-Trialkyl sustainable industrial phosphorus chemistry
SYSTEMIC project kick-off meeting
Ivaco piggery: biogas, fertiliser and nitrogen recovery
French phosphorus recycling conference conclusions
VTT container solution for small-scale resource and water recovery
Producing organo-mineral fertilisers from dried sewage sludge
UpLift marine nutrient recycling project wins innovation award
Phosphorus sorption by clay constituents of soils
Call for papers: phosphorus circular economy
ESPP Members

ESPP is developing an online listing of R&D projects addressing nutrient recycling, in order to facilitate exchange and knowledge transfer between projects and with potential user companies for recycling technologies and recycled nutrient products. Please consult the list currently online and send us information concerning any projects not yet included, or corrections to information included:

ESPP is also developing a listing of research and PhD students working on phosphorus sustainability, in order to facilitate networking and contacts. If you wish to be included, or have research students we should include, in this list, please send us summary details: name, email, title of phosphorus related research underway:

In order to bring together nutrient recycling R&D and user industries:

European nutrient recycling event, Basel, 18th and 19th October: programme and registration (now open)
- Wednesday 18th October: workshop on implementation of the new German and Swiss legislations requiring phosphorus recovery from sewage (in German and English)
- Thursday 19th October: meeting of nutrient recycling R&D projects (presentations, posters), technology supplier stands, R&D project consortium brokerage
+ Recycled nutrient product qualities and standards
+ Nutrient recovery in the sewage works of the future
+ Life Cycle – Analysis (LCA) and – Costing (LCC)
+ Technology transfer from municipal sewage to / from manures and other streams
+ How to move from R&D to implementation
Speakers, panellists and workshop leaders include: European Commission, EIP AGRI, Newtrient USA, Gruppo CAP Milan, Veolia, Finland Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Scotland Highlands & Islands, SYSTEMIC, INCOVER, SMART-Plant, Run4Life, VCM …

Upcoming events for your agenda:

5th September, Brussels, ESPP stakeholders meeting on EU Fertilisers Regulation revision and STRUBIAS proposals (struvite, biochar, ash). Contact if not already registered.

27-28 November, Eindhoven (NL), ManuREsource 2017 - International conference on manure management and valorisation. Stakeholder discussion on processed manure in the EU Nitrates Directive. 29th November: site visits to manure processing installations

Tuesday 12 December, Brussels, ESPP General Assembly 2017, on the use of recycled nutrient products in organic farming: implementation of EU Fertilisers Regulation, assessment of recycled products under EU Organic Farming Regulation, issues with contaminants, quality, safety, image and confidence

See more events at

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

Please subscribe 
Link to
Download as PDF

ESPP meetings
Stakeholder meeting to discuss EU Fertilisers Regulation
European Nutrient event – phosphorus recovery workshop and EU R&D meeting
New ESPP members
Vienna City
EU fertiliser criteria proposals for struvite, biochars, ashes (STRUBIAS)
EU Fertiliser Regulation proposal progressing through Parliament
Germany passes law making phosphorus recycling obligatory
Finland nutrient recycling policy and projects
EU court action against UK for sewage treatment resolved
Networks for transition to a bio-based and circular economy
North Sea Resources Roundabout
Netherlands Policy Brief: circular economy food system
Do you have a technology to remove excess phosphorus from freshwater bodies?
Phos4Life demonstrates 95% phosphorus recovery to phosphoric acid
Scenarios for sewage works energy and resource recovery
Overview of feasible technologies for phosphorus recovery in Switzerland
Nitrogen mineralisation from digestate
Yara position on the circular economy and examples of actions
Phytase safe and performance-effective in fish feed
Review of biochars as fertilisers
DVO “Phosphorus Removal” system makes fertiliser from digestate
Newtrient manure nutrient processing catalogue
IFA Nutrient Management Handbook
Cow urine finds a market
High quality fertilisation
From urine to ‘Pisner’ beer
Why organic farmers need recycled phosphorus fertilisers
GWI sludge treatment technology perspective
Correction Kjerstadius et al. LCA in ESPP eNews n°11
ESPP Members

The European Commission (JRC) has circulated first draft “nutrient recovery rules” (outline for possible CMC – Component Material Category – criteria under the revised EU Fertilisers Regulation) for struvite (widened to recovered phosphate salts), biochars and pyrolysis products and ashes - STRUBIAS. The report and annexes include a detailed assessment explaining these proposed requirements. It is open to comment and can be consulted on the ESPP website . Please note that the Commission will only accept comments submitted by members of the STRUBIAS Expert Group, which includes ESPP, DPP (German Phosphorus Platform), ECN, EBA, EFPRA, Suez, Vienna City, Italpollina and Fertilisers Europe, as well as Member State representatives. If you have comments, please therefore send to ESPP by end July (), because ESPP must submit consolidated comments in August. This will be discussed at ESPP’s stakeholder meeting with the European Commission on 5th September.

ESPP has submitted comments to the EU public consultation on pharmaceuticals in the environment. ESPP underlines the importance of developing better knowledge concerning presence of pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids and manures, fate and impact on soils and for agriculture, and removal of pharmaceuticals in sewage and manure treatments (e.g. sewage works, anaerobic digestion, composting). Among these topics there are important questions to maintaining recycling of sewage biosolids and manures to agriculture (safety, farmer and public confidence).

The European Commission has published a proposed ‘roadmap’ for a ‘Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment’, open for public comment to 26th May 2017. The three page document specifies the relevant EU regulatory framework, in particular pharmacovigilance, and proposes to address particularly pharmaceuticals in water but also pharmaceuticals in soil as specified by pharmacovigilance. The Commission estimates that EU pharmaceutical consumption doubled from 1990 to 2000 and doubled again from 2000 to 2012. The ‘roadmap’ proposes as main objectives to identify knowledge gaps and solution to fill these, and to protect the environment whilst safeguarding access to effective and appropriate pharmaceutical treatments for humans and animals. Uncertainty about levels of pharmaceuticals in the environment and need for risk assessment are underlined. 

ESPP has submitted comments to the EU public consultation on the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). ESPP underlines the importance of phosphorus because of global food security and the environmental challenge of eutrophication, and underlines the importance of supporting phosphorus use efficiency and recycling in agriculture, in synergy with nitrogen management and return of organic carbon to soil.  ESPP suggests to include in the CAP criteria and funding for closing nutrient cycles and for nutrient recycling, taking into account quality and safety, and including integration of nutrient management into farm, crop and food product sustainability criteria. Reference is made to the work of ENRD (European Network for Rural Development) working group on Resource Efficiency (underway) and the conclusions of the EIP-AGRI Focus Group 19 on “Recycled Nutrients” (See SCOPE Newsletter n°124).

EU public consultation on the Common Agricultural Policy, to 2nd May 2017

The European Commission has published a proposed ‘roadmap’ for a ‘Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment’, open for public comment to 26th May 2017. The three page document specifies the relevant EU regulatory framework, in particular pharmacovigilance, and proposes to address particularly pharmaceuticals in water but also pharmaceuticals in soil as specified by pharmacovigilance. The Commission estimates that EU pharmaceutical consumption doubled from 1990 to 2000 and doubled again from 2000 to 2012. The ‘roadmap’ proposes as main objectives to identify knowledge gaps and solution to fill these, and to protect the environment whilst safeguarding access to effective and appropriate pharmaceutical treatments for humans and animals. Uncertainty about levels of pharmaceuticals in the environment and need for risk assessment are underlined. ESPP is submitting comment to the EU to underline the importance of developing better knowledge concerning presence of pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids and manures, fate and impact on soils and for agriculture, and removal of pharmaceuticals in sewage and manure treatments (e.g. sewage works, anaerobic digestion, composting), because of the importance of this question to maintaining recycling of sewage biosolids and manures to agriculture (safety, farmer and public confidence).

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

Please subscribe 
Link to
Download as PDF

United Nations highlights resource recovery from wastewater
Ontario actions for phosphorus recycling
HELCOM manure nutrients and nutrient bookkeeping
Innovation and implementation
AnMBR water reuse EU Innovation Deal selected
Digestate certification success story Sweden
Agricultural application of phosphogypsum
Fraunhofer IGB ePHOS® electrochemical nutrient recovery
Colsen’s sixth struvite phosphorus recovery installation underway
UK phosphorus removal innovation
Berner’s recycled fertiliser from organic wastes
K-struvite application in building material
Nutrient Recovery 2.0
R3Water sewage resource recovery and pharmaceuticals treatment
Enzyme feed additives reduce poultry phosphorus needs
Nano hydroxyapatite shows no chronic toxicity in rats
German science academies propose monitoring of primary phosphorus resources
Extended anaerobic treatment of sewage improves toxicity removal
France, Italy: a tasteful love for shit
ESPP Members

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

Please subscribe 
Link to
Download as PDF

New ESPP members
Hitachi Zosen biochar phosphorus recycling technology
Phos4You phosphorus recovery from municipal wastewater
HELCOM specifies phosphorus recycling from sewage sludge
Food industry BAT draft includes phosphorus recovery as struvite
CEN mapping of standards needs for sustainable chemicals for the circular economy
Quebec ban on organic waste landfill and incineration
Innovation and implementation
Ellen MacArthur launches ‘Urban Biocycles” to address sludge nutrient recovery
Veolia Struvia P-recovery targets smaller sewage works
Severn Trent chooses Bluewater Bio to meet stringent phosphorus discharge consent
Call open for IWA Resource Recovery Award
Finland BioNets programme to enable nutrient recovery and Baltic restoration
Parameters impacting sewage sludge dewatering
Washington State University mobile phosphorus recovery unit project
Everglades Foundation George Barley Water Prize
WETSUS (NL) is George Barley Water Prize stage 1 winner
Stage 2 now open for submissions
Fifteen Stage 1 finalists
North America Phosphorus Forum 2017
ESPP stakeholder meeting on EU Fertiliser Regulation development and STRUBIAS
Nutrient recycling R&D projects meeting and technology fair
Events upcoming
ESPP Members

The George Barley Water Prize (Everglades Foundation) has named its first winner as WETSUS Netherlands, with the NaFRAd project (Natural Flocculation Reversible Adsorption). WETSUS (European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology) takes home the US$ 25 000 prize for the Prize Stage 1. After winning Stage 1, the Wetsus team is now preparing its submission for the second stage which requires testing and demonstrating at the laboratory lab scale.

Stage 2 of the Prize is open to organisations worldwide, whether or not they participated in Stage 1. Deadline: 15th July 2017, see below.

The WETSUS NaFRAd technology proposes a combination of flocculation with natural flocculants and reversible adsorption with high capacity iron based adsorbents. This can remove both particulate and soluble phosphorus with minimal waste generation. The phosphorus can be recovered as calcium phosphate for use in the fertiliser industry. These technologies reflect the WETSUS research themes Phosphate Recovery and Natural Flocculants.

WETSUS is a partner of the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, and has for example developed with ESPP a regularly updated listing of publications providing overviews and comparisons of phosphorus recovery technologies ( > Activities > P-recovery Technology Inventory). WETSUS also regularly provides articles for ESPP’s SCOPE Newsletter reviewing scientific publications on phosphorus recycling technologies.

Barley photo1

Photo: March 22, West Palm Beach, Florida: George Barley Water Prize Stage 1 winner WETSUS, represented by Prasanth Kumar , with Nathalie Olijslager-Jaarsma, Consul General of the Netherlands,  Jim King, Scotts Miracle Gro, Mary Barley, Board Member of the Everglades Foundation and Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

Stage 2 now open for submissions

Stage 2 of the Prize is currently open for applications from teams capable of testing their solution for two consecutive weeks processing c. 24 litres/hour (see exact specifications in application materials). Applicants will submit daily inflow and outflow samples from their technology.   A total of $80,000 will be awarded in November of this year to the top 3 teams in Stage 2. Applicants to Stage 2 need not have applied to Stage 1. The deadline to request Stage 2 application materials is 15 July 2017 and the deadline to submit applications is 31 August 2017.

The Pilot Stage, the third stage of the George Barley Water Prize, will qualify 10 teams to compete at a Pilot location in Canada in early 2018, with awards totalling $800,000. Finally, the Grand Prize will see the top 4 teams compete in Florida for the ultimate $10 million award.

15 Stage 1 finalists

Stage 1 of the George Barley Water Prize is the first milestone of the 4-year prize which will reward with US$ 10 million the most cost-effective, scalable technology that thoroughly removes and recovers phosphorus from freshwater bodies. Over 75 applicants from all over the globe submitted proposals to Stage 1 (from a total of 181 initial entries). Entries came primarily from the United States, but also from Canada, India, Belgium, Germany, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Israel. The prize nominated 15 finalists for Stage 1, and these are summarised below.

George Barley Water Prize, funded by the Everglades Foundation and with support from Ontario, Xylem, Miracle Gro and Knight Foundation

The 15 stage 1 finalists are as summarised below
(see also on the Prize website: go to “Entries” and search by project name)

The fifteen George Barley Water Prize Stage 1 finalists:

Technologies including phosphorus adsorbents

  • Wetsus NaFRAd (Natural Flocculation Reversible Adsorption) – winner of Stage 1 of the Prize - particulate phosphorus is captured by biodegradable bioflocculants, soluble phosphorus is captured in an adsorbent bed which can be regenerated using calcium hydroxide for recovery of calcium phosphate. Adsorption is part of the WETSUS Phosphate Recovery theme with participation of Delft University of Technology, STOWA, ICL Fertilizers, KEMIRA, Green Water Solution, water authority Brabantse Delta and Oosterhof Holman. Natural flocculants are being developed in the WETSUS Natural Flocculants theme with participation of Wageningen University Research, Pentair and Shell Global Solutions. See on YouTube and Contact See photo.


  • Rocky Mountain Scientific APR – proposes a compound (APR1 beads – a proprietary compound) which enables phosphorus to be removed from water by adsorption/desorption. Contact
  • AquaCal AgBag – uses “biogenic oolitic aragonite”, which means a form of calcium carbonate in spherical grains produced by biological processes (this is not clarified). It is claimed that “adding aragonite into animal and plant nutrition … will mitigate the very generation of phosphorus by livestock and farming activities”. Clarifications have been requested by ESPP, because we do not understand how adding calcium carbonate can have the result that phosphorus going into one end of animals does not come out the other end (phosphorus present in animal feed comes out in manures except for the non significant and essentially non variable amount stocked in bones etc). The answer we received from the company was that this is currently undergoing testing. It is also proposed to install different types of filter bags of aragonite in field drainage or storm water collection to adsorb phosphate. It is indicated that the phosphorus-enriched calcium carbonate can then be used as a fertiliser or soil improver.

  • WAVVE Stream / University of Houston spin-off – using nano-coated polymer beads to adsorb nutrients and heavy metals, with regeneration capabilities. Website: Contact

Biological systems

  • AquaFiber Technologies AquaLutionsTM process – lake water is pumped through a patented unit at the heart of which is a dissolved air flotation unit modified to maximize its efficiency to harvest the smallest algal cells from the lake water. The system also includes gravity pre-separation and biological polishing. Clear, clean and oxygenated water is returned to the source and blue-green algae are removed. The harvested biomass can be used to produce an organic fertiliser or converted to energy. A 14 million litres/day, 0.4 ha footprint (of which 7% for the treatment installation) site has already been tested successfully at Lake Jesup, Florida, 2009-2014. The technology is ready for roll-out and the company offers a “pay for performance” business model. See photo.

Barley photo2

  • Phosphorus-hungry microbes (PIARCS) – microbes are used to remove soluble phosphorus from water and stably sequester it as polyphosphate. Advantages over conventional bio-P removal are very rapid phosphate uptake, without subsequent phosphate release. The rapid uptake means that fermenter-grown microbes can be added just prior to flocculation. The polyphosphate rich biomass can be used as organic fertiliser. Contact
  • Wetlaculture (Mitsch) – landscape-scale and mesocosm-scale models integrating wetlands for phosphorus retention with agriculture. Retained phosphorus in the wetlands is directly recycled as fertiliser to crops appropriate for temperate or subtropical region. See photo.

Barley photo3

High technology solutions

  • Nutrient Extraction and Recovery Devices (University of Maryland Baltimore County) – selective phosphorus uptake and recovery using ion exchange membranes and high-strength monovalent salt solutions. Contact
  • Waterway Nanoshield (University of Calgary) – phosphorus removal from livestock manure using nanoporous carbon membranes as electro-filters, to clean water and produce “mineral concentrates” of phosphorus and nitrogen which can be redistributed as a fertiliser. Contact
  • Plasma Water Reactor – University of Michigan – plasma injection into water is indicated as having the following effects: changing water chemistry (oxidation states, pH) so initiating precipitation of ions such as phosphates; electrical enhancement of coagulation; generation of ozone, UV … which break down organics. See photo.


Iron-based phosphorus removal

  • Waterloo Biofilter EC-P System – low-energy electrochemistry releases ferrous iron into septic systems or ditch water to remove phosphorus as inert, crystalline iron phosphate minerals (vivianite). This is similar to the use of iron salts for P-removal in sewage works worldwide, but without P-rich sludge production. The process can be modified to recover iron phosphate crystals which are proposed for use as a fertilising soil amendment. Contact See photo.

  • P removal (University of Miami) – using riparian buffer vegetation zones, waste iron materials from foundries for phosphorus adsorption and plants (reedbed type systems) for final purification stage removing low levels of phosphorus and other pollutants. Contact

  • FIU ROAR (Florida International University) - submission from Everglades region presenting a “holistic approach”. Little technical information. Iron coated fibres used for P-removal – not defined how to dispose of or recycle these fibres after phosphorus uptake.

  • Team blueXgreen - University of Idaho – reactive filtration using iron salts, biochar (from agriculture or forestry greenwaste) and ozone. Two first generations of the technology (ferrous iron and ozone) are operating commercially (Nexom/Blue Water Technologies) with installations up to >50 million litres/day, and are participating in the UK-WIR-CIP2 trials (see ESPP eNEWS n°7). The third generation reactive filtration technology (at pilot stage, see photo) adds biochar as a catalyst and phosphorus adsorbant. This can be recycled as a slow release phosphorus fertiliser which sequesters CO2. Photo: University of Idaho N-E-W Tech™ process research trailer. See Contact See photo.

Barley photo4

  • US Geological Survey (USGS Leetown) –adsorption using mine waste ochre (iron oxide based) with regeneration of the ochre using sodium hydroxide, and then precipitation of calcium phosphate for recycling. See details in “Removal of phosphorus from agricultural wastewaters using adsorption media prepared from acid mine drainage sludge,” Sibrell, et al., 2009, and “Fixed bed sorption of phosphorus from wastewater using iron oxide-based media derived from acid mine drainage” Sibrell and Tucker 2013
    Contact See photo.

Barley photo5

This report of the The George Barley Prize is here available in PDF.

SUBSCRIBE to our eNews and SCOPE Newsletter


Read earlier SCOPE and eNews editions.