EU Project FERTIMANURE

From Farm to Market: Converting Animal Manure into Fertilising Products

February 17, 2020

More than 90 % of the manure produced by livestock farms in the EU is used for land fertilisation. However, this process is inefficient. The EU-funded FERTIMANURE project intends to develop, test and estimate advanced nutrient management strategies to produce competitive fertilisers that contribute to good yield. Their goal is to recycle valuable nutrients from livestock manure and produce bio-based fertilisers. FERTIMANURE will be deployed in five of the EU’s biggest livestock production countries, namely Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Outcomes should help promote this circular economy model for the EU agriculture sector.

Circular Economy Strategy
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The main focus of the project is to recycle nutrients from livestock manure and use them to produce biobased fertilizers. The aim is to develop a waste-free manure management system for the EU livestock sector and exploit the large amounts of nutrient-rich residual biomass from manure.

Fraunhofer UMSICHT is responsible for the implementation of the German pilot project for nutrient recovery from cattle manure. The pilot project will combine and further develop a number of technologies from the pre-treatment of the manure to thermo-chemical conversion and final fertilizer production. The core of the conversion process is the thermo-catalytic reforming (TCR) technology developed at the Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

This innovative process chain will maximize nitrogen recovery and phosphorus utilization from cattle manure and convert it into the raw material fertilizer ammonium phosphate. In addition, phosphorus-rich biochar will be produced. The fertilization performance of the pilot products will be tested in the greenhouse facilities of Fraunhofer UMSICHT. To ensure that the project results have the greatest possible impact, all activities are accompanied by a detailed nutrient balance of the process chain, a sustainability assessment as a utilization strategy and joint business development in the FERTIMANURE consortium.

FERTIMANURE is mainly carried out in five of the largest animal production countries in the EU, namely Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Pilot plants are being built there.

A total of 20 project partners from 7 EU countries and Argentina are working together over a period of 48 months. The results should help to promote a closed-loop economic model for the EU agricultural sector and reduce the EU's dependence on limited resources such as rock phosphate.