FERTIPLUS will identify urban and farm organic wastes that can be used to recycle nutrients into agriculture as biochar, compost or combinations of them. Urban and farm organic residues are a large source of nutrients and today not used to its full potential. FERTIPLUS will assess and use this potential and contribute to sustainable crop production and soil productivity and quality across regions in Europe. It will demonstrate effective innovative processing and application of biochar and compost while ensuring safety for soil organisms, the environment and human health throughout the food chain as far as potential mineral and organic contaminants are concerned. FERTIPLUS will assess scenarios on amount and quality of organic wastes available within the EU in the near future to identify and map their potential for recycling nutrients to soil and plants in biochar or compost.
Production processes for compost and biochar are reviewed and new technologies will be designed to obtain high quality biochar with functionalities related to site-specific targets of sustainable soil management. Compost and biochar amendments will be compared in lab and field trials for agronomical and environmental impacts (crop production, disease suppression, soil C sequestration, prevention of GHG emissions and leaching losses) and biofuel and energy balance. Results will be used to complete a Life Cycle Analysis and define the best application practices for an effective and safe use of the final products in agriculture in an economically viable way. The consortium combines the expertise needed for these goals and involve 6 SMEs to guarantee rapid implementation of results and innovations in line with future regulatory projects (e.g. End of Waste criteria for bio-wastes, revision of Fertilisers Regulation) . Focused dissemination and communication actions include a website, brochures and meetings on innovations targeted to stakeholders and extension services.