In this last year of the Interreg NWE ReNu2Farm* project, the bi-annual meeting between the European partners organised by Arvalis was held in France, at the Boigneville station in the Ile-de-France region. The Boigneville station on which approximately 150 employees are working, is the largest of the 27 Arvalis stations covering the French territory.
For three days, the results and the latest objectives to be achieved are scrutinized to get an overall view of the project's progress. It is also an opportunity for the partners to share their possible difficulties and remaining questions, which are the subject of a joint thinking in order to come up with appropriate solutions. Following this, for each work package, the objectives are maintained or revised upwards. It was the case for some and this is a sign of fruitful progress. Plus, this collaborative working leads the partners to set the new guidelines and deadlines to be met in order to contribute to the development of the circular economy of recycling-derived fertilizers (RDFs) through the ReNu2Farm project.
After conducting a survey of about 25,000 farmers in the cross-border regions of North-Western Europe (see Figure 1), the first qualitative and quantitative analysis were presented. These will help to promote access to products that meet farmers' expectations and requirements. Similarly, surveys were conducted among RDF producers to gain a clear understanding of the current context and stakes. A mapping was also carried out to estimate the nutrient needs in each region, as farmers want products that are adapted to their crops and regional specificities.
This in-depth work is supplemented by field and pot trials testing different RDFs (compost, struvite, ash, ammonium sulphate, methanation digestates, liquid fraction of pig manure, etc.) to study nitrogen mineralisation, phosphorus availability, carbon footprint, as well as the management of good practices. Samples of each of these products are then taken for fine laboratory analysis to monitor their performance.
The economic aspect is of course examined to estimate production costs and determine realistic and acceptable selling prices for farmers, manufacturers and distributors.
Besides, partners also work on the legislative aspect of these recycled products, as the regulations on the subject vary from one country to another. It will therefore be necessary at the end of the ReNu2Farm project to give European political decision-makers a picture as complete as possible of these RDFs in order to ensure that they are properly regulated.
Because of its ambition and its multi-partner approach, a European project is particularly suited to participate in the development of a virtuous circular economy playing on transregional synergies. The role of communication and dissemination on the project's progress remains essential as it must be smartly addressed to targeted stakeholders who will subsequently rely on the results of ReNu2Farm to enhance this promising sector. Networks of farmers, companies, as well as field demonstrations, training tools and seminars are all part of the development of a sustainable, fruitful and fair value chain.
For more information, please visit further the ReNu2Farm website:
Hélène Lagrange - firstname.lastname@example.org or
Maxime Salin - email@example.com
*ReNu2Farm is a European Interreg project that aims at developing a circular economy involving six Northern and Western European countries. Its objective is to increase the recycling rates of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium by replacing part of the synthetic mineral fertilizers, manure and slurry with recycled fertilizers to limit dependence on finite mineral resources.