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ReLeaf

Recycling Locally Produced Bio-Wastes to Ensure Affordability and Availability of Innovative Bio-Based Fertilisers

Project details

Type of project
Innovation Action - Demonstration
Feedstock origin
Agri-food waste
Aquatic
Feedstock type
Crop residues
Fishery by-product
Food industry sidestreams
Industrial waste streams
Municipal solid waste
Organic fraction of municipal solid waste
Project period
1 June 2024 - 31 May 2028
Status
In progress
CBE JU Contribution
€ 6 504 027,75
Call identifier
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2023

Summary

EU reliance on synthetic and fossil-based mineral fertilisers, with 9.8 million tonnes of nitrogen and 1.1 million tonnes of phosphorous used in EU28 agriculture in 2021, poses a threat to future food security. The ReLEAF project addresses this challenge by producing bio-based fertilisers from waste streams like sewage sludge, fish processing waste and wastewater, mixed food waste, and agri-food residues. 


The project will demonstrate suitable extraction techniques in 5 sites across Europe.. It will engage with stakeholders to promote widespread acceptance and industrial scale-up of bio-based fertilisers, thus contributing to sustainable agriculture in Europe.
 

The ReLEAF project aims to develop safe, sustainable, and competitive bio-based fertilisers by optimising innovative technologies to recover valuable nutrients and biostimulants from abundant bio-wastes. The main objectives include:

  • Increasing nutrient recycling from the selected bio-waste streams by up to 70% through the optimisation and demonstration of novel technologies for fertiliser ingredient production.
  • Preventing the presence of microplastics in soil through advanced bio-based, biodegradable, and biocompatible materials such as coatings for controlled-release fertilisers that are harmless to the soil microbiome.
  • Reducing nutrient losses by up to 60% and nutrient inputs to the soil by up to 30% through the optimisation and pre-industrial scale production of controlled-release, growth stage targeted, and biostimulant-doped bio-based fertilisers.
  • Ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness, safety, and marketability of the developed bio-based fertilisers through real environmental agronomic assessments.
  • Establishing local and cost-effective circular supply chains to produce bio-based fertilisers, increasing resource efficiency and decreasing reliance on imported materials by up to 20%.
  • Following a transdisciplinary, multi-actor approach with active stakeholder engagement and co-creation to ensure industrial uptake and social acceptance.
  • Accelerating the transition by developing and disseminating guidelines for safe and sustainable bio-based fertilisers throughout their lifecycle.
     

The ReLEAF project aims to valorise widespread bio-waste streams across Europe to produce safe, sustainable, and efficient bio-based fertilisers. The benefits include:

  • Enhanced availability of affordable and sustainable fertiliser in the EU.
  • Safe, precise, applicable, and efficient bio-based fertilisers to support the transition towards a circular economy (including the fertiliser industry) and agricultural production.
  • Replacement of conventional fossil and mineral fertilisers of up to 20% of EU demand for mineral-based fertilisers with bio-based alternatives, while closing nutrient cycles and creating new value chains on a regional level.
  • Overall reduction in fertiliser use by 50%.
  • Availability of innovative and sustainable bio-based fertiliser delivery systems (e.g., coatings) for controlled release.
  • Significant contribution to the objectives of the R&I mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’.
  • Social acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products.
  • Value chains involving European waste owners, fertiliser producers, and farmers as raw material suppliers, and bio-based fertilisers production as the primary destination of organic waste streams.
  • Decreased carbon footprint of the agri-food sector by 30% through lower nutrient losses and overall less fertiliser use.
  • Greatly improved soil literacy with more demand from citizens for sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Regulations supporting products manufactured in circular processes.
     

Consortium map

Project coordination

  • ACONDICIONAMIENTO TARRASENSE ASSOCIACION Terrassa, Spain

Consortium

  • CASALI ROBERTO Italy
  • UNIWERSYTET ROLNICZY IM. HUGONA KOLLATAJA W KRAKOWIE Krakow, Poland
  • GLOBAL OMNIUM MEDIOAMBIENTE, S.L. Valencia, Spain
  • ANECOOP SOCIEDAD COOPERATIVA Valencia, Spain
  • RECH INNOV TRANSFERT TECHN MAT FERT ORG Colmar, France
  • CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE Roma, Italy
  • TIMAC AGRO ITALIA S.P.A MILANO, Italy
  • INSTITUTO DE SOLDADURA E QUALIDADE Porto Salvo, Portugal
  • ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA Bologna, Italy
  • STICHTING EFFOST Wageningen, Netherlands
  • ALCHEMIA-NOVA RESEARCH & INNOVATION GEMEINNUTZIGE GMBH Wien, Austria
  • NOVA ID FCT - ASSOCIACAO PARA A INOVACAO E DESENVOLVIMENTO DA FCT Caparica, Portugal
  • NUEVAS TECNOLOGIAS PARA EL DESARROLLO DE PACKAGING Y PRODUCTOS AGROALIMENTARIOS CON COMPONENTE PLASTICA SL Zaragoza, Spain
  • AERIS TECNOLOGIAS AMBIENTALES SL Cerdanyola Del Valles, Spain
Partners
  • INEUVO LTD Lichfield, United Kingdom
  • FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR BIOLOGISCHEN LANDBAU STIFTUNG Frick, Switzerland