Product categories

Main category: Compost and Digestate (and biomass)
Subcategory Definition FP ID link for products are in matured phase Thematic training material

Compost is a humus-like material derived from organic waste composting as a result of the action of aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. Depending on composting method, size, intensity of the operation and the input material,a large range of qualities can be produced. Quality aspects of compost are of most importance in order to assure a proper use in agriculture. Farmers’ willingness to use compost is strictly connected to various quality aspects of compost. Compost quality refers to the overall state of the compost with regard to physical, chemical and biological characteristics. These parameters are indicators of the ultimate impact of the compost on the environment. In particular, the most important parameters from the point of view of environment protection standards, public health and the soil are those related to pathogens, inorganic and organic potentially toxic compounds and stability. The specific applications for the compost use are soil improver, growing media, plant disease suppression and also other applications.

Compost is commonly used as a soil amendment to increase organic matter content and fertility by improving physical, chemical and biological soil. The nutritive value of composts and their potential to enhance soil quality makes them ideal for agriculture, but may unnecessarily increase the toxic element content of the soil when applied at high dosages. Composts have the advantage to significantly increase soil organic matter (SOM) contents, a key soil quality indicator that is on the contrary declining in many regions of the world. There are many compounds within compost that influence the biological process in soil, improving the physical and chemical characteristics. Humates improve the soil structure and then the plant roots could easier penetrate. Improving root growth, the stability of trees increases and the water stess decreases.Additional benefits of compost addition to soil are promoting soil biological activity, reducing erosion losses, decreasing bulk density, improving structural stability, nutrient availability and plant uptake, increasing the water holding capacity.

The use of compost is also interesting as a peat substitute, in particular after recent increasing concern on peat extraction and the damage of peat lands natural habitats by the horticulture industry that lead to the adoption of alternative substrates. However, composts can hardly be used alone as a growing media; it is necessary to do a germination test or compost analysis to determine the suitability because will be often kill or damage plants due to excessive salinity.

Thematic training on Compost Southern Europe Thematic training on Compost Northern Europe

Digestate is a wet mixture obtained from anaerobic digestion process where microorganisms break down organic materials in the absence of oxygen.

Digestate is a fertiliser containing all nutrients and micronutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Since no nutrient are lost during anaerobic digestion, farmer can close the nutrient cycle and reuse the minerals. Additionally, organic matter in digestate can build up the humus content in the soil which is particularly crucial for arid and semi-arid lands with low carbon content. The percentage of readily available nitrogen is higher in digestate compared to the same organic material in its raw form, thereby increasing its fertilising value. [1]

[1] Digestate Factsheet - European Biogas Association

Thematic training on Digestate Northern Europe Thematic training on Digestate Southern Europe
Alternative biomass

Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms that have the ability to conduct photosynthesis. Duckweed (the Lemnaceae) is a family of aquatic plants that rich in protein. Both of them can make use of nutrients in solutions to produce biomass by algae cultivation which can be used as crop fertilizer.

Thematic training on Alternative Biomass
Main category: Ash
Subcategory Definition FP ID link for products are in matured phase Thematic training material

Ash is the burned-out solid residue powdery product after oxidative thermo chemical processing: oxidative combustion or semi-oxidative gasification processes.
Ashes are characterized as fly ash or bottom ash or a combination thereof formed through the incineration of bio-based materials by oxidation. Ashes obtained through incineration can be post-processed  with  the  aim  to  partly  remove  metals  and  metalloids, and  to  increase  the availability of plant nutrients in the ash complexes. Ashes can be obtained from incineration plants that are specifically designed for the purpose of producing ash-based materials for further fertiliser use or they can be a production residue resulting  from  a  process  aimed  at  disposing  waste  or  producing  a  different  primary product (e.g. energy). Substantial quantities of ashes are produced via co-incineration facilities that combine the purposes of  energy  production  with  waste  disposal,  especially  for  waste  materials of low calorific value  or  of  high  moisture  content.  Co-incineration is an  economically  viable  and widely applied waste disposal route for many nutrient-rich wastes. [1]


Thematic training on ashes
Main category: Struvite and other P-product
Subcategory Definition FP ID link for products are in matured phase Thematic training material

Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) is inorganic phosphate mineral with formula: NH4MgPO4•6H2O and approx. 22% P2O5 content obtained from precipitation processes.

Struvite crystallizes in the orthorhombic system as white to yellowish or brownish-white pyramidal crystals or in platey mica-like forms.

Magnesium ammonium phosphate, usually called struvite, is the most common salt enabling the recovery of phosphorous and nitrogen from wastewaters. Struvite is a white crystalline substance, which is considered as a slow releasing and valuable fertilizer (5-28-0-10Mg), as it is sparingly soluble under neutral and alkaline conditions but readily soluble in citric acid. Struvite precipitation is produced in alkaline conditions when the concentration of Mg2+, NH4+ and PO43- exceeds the solubility product. [1]

A combination of physical and chemical parameters controls the complex  mechanism of struvite precipitation. One of the main factors is pH, as it changes the concentration of free ions available for reaction. When pH increases, Mg2+ and NH4+ concentrations decrease, as the first one complexes with hydroxides, and the second one increases its volatilization in the form of ammonia (NH3). On the other hand, PO43- concentrations increase as the pH increases. pH is  also involved in controlling struvite solubility, being minimal with pH values between 9 and 10.7. [2]

Benefits: relative high 22% magnesium ammonium phosphate content.
Challenges: low water solubility, potential pharmaceutical residuals and other contaminations. [3]



[3] Marissa A. de Boer, Uptake of pharmaceuticals by sorbent-amended struvite fertilisers recovered from human urine and their bioaccumulations in tomato fruit (Water Research, volume 133, 15 April 2018, Pages 18-26)

Thematic training on Struvite
Precipitated Calcium Phosphate

Precipitated Calcium-Phosphate refers to P salt containing Ca2+, e.g. Ca3(PO4)2, CaNH4PO4, etc. produced by calcium phosphate precipitation technology.

Calcium phosphate precipitation is very complex and involves various parameters. It depends on calcium and phosphate ions concentration, ionic strength, temperature, ion types and pH but also on time.
When calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2 ) is added to the liquid fraction and the pH increases above 10, and temperature (70ºC), phosphorus precipitates as hydroxyapatite (Ca5(PO4)3OH) or brushite (CaHPO4 2H2O). Depending on dosage, three different Ca-phosphates can be obtained: the highly water-soluble mono-calciumphosphate (MCP), the citric acid soluble di-calciumphoshate (DCP) and the barely soluble tri-calciumphosphate (TCP). For fertiliser application, MCP and DCP are favoured. [1]



Thematic training on precipitated calcium phosphate

Phosphoric-acid refers to phosphoric acid, phosphate acid and organic P acid recovered from waste streams. 

Phosphorus precipitate

Other P products with multi-substrates or complicate compositions, e.g. P absorbent produced by chemical precipitation.

Main category: Biochar and Bio-Phosphate
Subcategory Definition FP ID link for products are in matured phase Thematic training material

Biochar is 450°C low temperature reductive thermal processed carboniferous material with high carbon content, produced from cellulose based plant or bio-based by-products, which is expressively made for soil functional applications, which does not have economical important level of nutrient content itself but acting as soil improver.

The word "biochar" is a combination of "bio-" as in "biomass" and "char" as in "charcoal". It is obtained by charring/pyrolysing plant or bio-byproducts , via a process of heating it in the absence of oxygen. Different types of pyrolysis process used to make biochar, including slow pyrolysis, fast pyrolysis and flash pyrolysis. There are currently processes on the market which enable energy-neutral processing of pig manure or other manure to biochar as well. This is a stable recycled carboniferous material which is beneficial for the soil, containing d stable carbon which is applied to the soil. [1]

The carbon content of pyrolysed chars fluctuates between 25% and 95% of the dry mass, dependent on the feedstock and process temperature used. For instance the C content of pyrolysed beech wood is around 85% while that of poultry manure is around 25%.[2] There are two major elements impacting biochar quality: primarily the carbonisation engineering design performance quality to efficiently thermal process the material and the input feed material characteristics. Biochar is used for soil improver, usually between 5 tons/ha and 20 tons/ha to reach soil improver effects.

The technical and cost efficiency for the use of plant based biochar for soil improver (most importantly for water and nutrient retention) is highly depending on the biochar quality and application conditions. Plant based biochar does not have fertilizer content with economical importance. Plant based biochar is highly suitable for soil improver, that is mainly based on the high dose effects with high water and nutrient retention capacity. The combination of biochar with compost or another organic fertilizer is most encouraging for agronomic performance.

Benefits: recycle bio- byproducts , soil improver – amendment - conditioning agent, reducing soil bulk density, improving aeration and water - nutrient holding capacity of soils, while reducing nutrient leaching losses. The biochar is potentially ”carbon negative,” taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than it puts back into it, and mitigating climate change by storing plant derived carbon in the soil in a very stable form that resists long term decomposition.
Challenges: as biochar incorporation to soil is irrevocable, only high quality properly manufactured and formulated materials to be applied.
In some manure biochar cases Cu/Zn over-dose concentration is challenging. As of high dose, user costs might also be high that is challenging. The risk of the flow away, wind erosion and rain leach out of the low volume weight and often dusty plant biochar must pay high attention at use in open field. Regarding the application method, it is important to be cautious when handling dry biochar because it is very dusty and should not be spread in windy conditions.





Thematic training on Biochar

Bio-Phosphate is 850°C high material core temperature reductive thermal processed bio-origin apatite mineral calcium-phosphate bio-fertilizer, which is in all cases made from food grade animal bone grist mono feed.

Bio-Phosphate is macroporosus structured and containing approx. 92% mineral and 8% carbon with above >30%  up to 35% P2O5 economically high concentrated nutrient density with controlled release formulations. Usual application dose: 200 kg/ha – 1,500 kg/ha.

Benefits: economically high nutrient density and low dose application rate, macroporosus structure that is enhancig soil mirobiological life, bio-fertiliser with controlled nutrient release performance, mono feed based product.
Challenges: new product on the market, which require higher market recognition.

Thematic training on Biophosphate
Main category: Scrubber water and mineral nitrogen concentrates
Subcategory Definition FP ID link for products are in matured phase Thematic training material
Scrubber water

Scrubber water is the ammonia water recovered from waste stripping /evaporation process.

Thematic training on Scrubber water
Ammonium nitrate/sulphate

Ammonium Nitrate/sulphate refers to ammonium nitrate/sulphate solution recovered from stripping/evaporation + scrubbing process by nitric/sulphuric acid as scrubber.

Thematic training on Ammonium nitrate/sulphate
Mineral concentrate

Mineral concentrate is the concentrated mineral nutrients solution obtained from membrane filtration process of waste streams or from another separation technology that concentrates the N in the end-product compared to the input.

Ultrafiltration + reverse osmosis, have been reported to be able producing mineral concentrate, i.e. 0.5-1 % w/w (95 % ammonia) to be used directly as NK-fertilizer. [1]


Thematic training on Mineral concentrate
Solid manure

Livestock manure is a mixture of feces and urine, bedding material (e.g. straw, wood shavings, sawdust, sphagnum), spilt feed and drinking water, and water used for washing floors. It is a valuable fertilizer that contains a broad range of nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) as well as organic carbon which can be utilised by soil microorganisms. Raw manure can  be processed with separation technologies that produce a solid fraction in which much of the P and dry matter (DM) and significant amounts of the N are retained.  There are several technologies available for liquid and solid separation, including in-house separation such as slatted floors with cellars or channels beneath, natural sedimentation, drying, evaporation, centrifugation, pressurized separation such as screw or belt press. To increase the separation efficiency, manure can be pretreated by using additives such as brown coal, bentonite, zeolite, crystals, chitosan and efficient microorganisms. Depending on the pre-treatment and separation technologies, the obtained solid manure may contain up to 90% of organic matters with reduced volume, which results in reduced storage and transportation cost as well as reduced odors and GHG emission. Therefore, solid manure represents high potential to be used as organic fertiliser or soil amendment.


Thematic training on Solid manure
Liquid manure

Livestock manure from house usually contains high percentage of water which consist of  urine, spilt feed and drinking water as well as water for washing. During physical separation, most of water retains in the liquid fraction, together with the soluble nutrients including mineral N, orthophosphate, K, etc. This liquid manure can be used as a liquid organic fertiliser in agriculture. With post-treatments such as evaporation and membrane filtration, the nutrients in liquid manure can be concentrated and the volume can be reduced which saves the transportation cost. Additionally, acidification is used to reduce the GHG emission from liquid manure during storage, transportation and application. Normally liquid manure is injected or incorporated immediately into soil to reduce emissions. Due to the relatively low P and high mineral N&K, liquid manure has the priority to be used in regions rich in P or have restrictions on P application.

Thematic training on Liquid manure