Reducing mineral fertilisers and agro-chemicals by recycling treated organic waste as compost and bio-char products

Co-funded by: European Commission, Directorate General for Research & Innovation

Project duration: 12/2011 till 11/2015

Project coordinator: Dr. Peter Kuikman (ALTERRA)

Coordinator of work package 2: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eckhard Kraft (BUW)

Project-Website: www.fertiplus.eu

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A vast quantity of organic waste is produced annually within the EU. Agriculture is the biggest contributor in organic residues, followed by yard and forestry waste, sludge waste water treatment plant (SWWTP), food processing waste, and organic fraction from municipal waste (OFMSW). The vast majority of this waste stream can be subjected to processing that transforms 'waste' into valuable products. Processing can take place at ambient temperatures (biological treatment) in the presence (composting) or absence (anaerobic digestion) of oxygen; or at much higher temperatures, again in the presence (incineration, resulting in ash) or absence (pyrolysis, resulting in biochar) of oxygen.
The focus in FERTIPLUS is in understanding why a given processing of a selection of combination of feedstocks will make a good product and to provide a tool for SME’s to determine the best strategy (what feedstock and what processing conditions will produce product with fertilizer value – what to put on the bag of the product?). The focus for feedstocks in FERTIPLUS is on urban and agricultural waste including garden and park waste, municipal household waste, residues from anaerobic digestors for N and P recuperation. FERTIPLUS will assess the available organic waste and estimate how much N and P could be made available if returned to agriculture and whether this could be realised according to regulatory safety standards currently under development.


The general objective of FERTIPLUS is therefore to identify and develop innovative strategies and technologies to:

  1. Reduce and replace the application of mineral fertilizers and agrochemicals and
  2. Stimulate industry to implement necessary and cost-effective organic waste treatment and recycling processes to produce safe compost and biochar that allow agriculture to improve the efficient utilization of nutrients.

The strategic goal of this project would be to support the European Union by providing the necessary tools and quality standards for the design and implementation of future strategies for transitions to a safe and sustainable recycling of urban and farm organic wastes as fertilizers and soil amendments.

Last update: 31.03.2015