Circular NP – Better nutrient cycle for animal manure

Project period 2020–2026

Intensive farming and large-scale animal husbandry are practiced around the Baltic Sea. In agricultural production, nutrients such as phosphorus, and nitrogen, are needed. At the same time, livestock farming produces large amounts of nutrients via manure. Leakage of nutrients from agricultural production and animal manure are transported by water through the catchment area, all the way down to the Baltic Sea where they contribute to eutrophication.

Intensive farming and large-scale animal husbandry are practiced around the Baltic Sea. In agricultural production, nutrients such as phosphorus, and nitrogen, are needed. At the same time, livestock farming produces large amounts of nutrients via manure. Leakage of nutrients from agricultural production and animal manure are transported by water through the catchment area, all the way down to the Baltic Sea where they contribute to eutrophication.

There is a great need to improve recirculation of animal manure in crop production. Primarily to fulfil policy sustainability goals and environmental requirements, but also to contribute to a more circular animal husbandry while becoming a source of income for livestock farmers.

The “Circular NP” project tests out methods for effectively reusing animal manure in agriculture, thereby reducing the leakage of nutrients. The project builds on BalticSea2020’s large-scale demonstration project on a pig farm in Poland. During that project period, the farm in question bred about 60,000 pigs and produces over 50,000 cubic metres of manure annually. The project in Poland has shown that it is possible to extract phosphorus and nitrogen from animal manure that can be safely stored and later spread with a small nutrient leakage. The next step is to develop techniques and methods for even more efficient handling of nutrients in the dry, phosphorus-rich fraction along with the liquid, nitrogen-rich fraction of manure.

“Circular NP” examines a variety of treatments of manure based on science and in collaboration with producers, potential customers, and governmental authorities.

The aim of the project is to:

  • Find technical solutions for extracting nutrients, primarily phosphorus but also nitrogen, from animal manure and create fertilisers that are transportable over longer distances, e.g., from areas with excess nutrients to areas with deficits.
  • Evaluate the plant nutrient values of these fertilisers.
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of the technologies.
  • Conduct case studies for the purpose of evaluating treatment methods and end products (fertiliser fraction).
  • Disseminate the results of the project to stakeholders and other interested parties around the Baltic Sea.
The project uses digestate from the biogas plant More Biogas, and separated animal manure directly from the farms. Nitrogen circulates in the immediate area, while the phosphorus becomes a resource for farms further away that experience a need in phosphorus. The plant nutrients efficiency increases and the risk of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea decreases. Illustration: Madeleine Kullenbo, BalticWaters2030

Together with More Biogas, a biogas plant owned by an agricultural cooperative in Läckeby outside of Kalmar, the project will implement a number of case studies. The biogas plant receives animal manure from about 20 farmers in the region. Both digestate from More Biogas and separated raw manure will be used in the research project.

The project is conducted by BalticWaters2030 in close collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE).

Information on case studies and results of the measures will be published on a regular basis, as we will evaluate the possibility of establishing new projects and measures continuously.

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