Wednesday 7th December 2022
All the presentations on Wednesday were of interest to both delegates interested in crop nutrition, and those interested in fertiliser production.
Advances in improving the sustainability of fertiliser production: a review
Stephane Bungener & Maxime Loviat, Yara, Norway
Yara has committed to 30% Scope 1 & 2 emissions reductions by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050. Reaching these objectives implies a fundamental change in the strategic thinking, technologies we use in the plants as well as how we operate our plants.
In this talk we will provide insights into how we have organized this work – the journey from setting targets to the development of Key Performance Indicators and project portfolio management. We will explain some of the technologies we will be employing to reach our aims, and the challenges which those entail.
Although we are depending on new technologies to decarbonise our ammonia production plants, operational excellence and continuous improvement will also be important contributors to reaching our targets. The presentation will provide an insight into our approach for improving our energy performance through operator actions, and what positive impact and challenges we have seen so far. .
Reality and practice of nutrient recycling in Europe: a review
Robert van Spingelen, European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform / RecyFert B.V, Netherlands
This presentation will cover various aspects of the current and potential nutrient recycling situation across Europe. It will include potential tonnages of phosphorus (P) in different waste streams, and what part is available for recycling today and in the future. The reuse – recovery – recycling routes for different nutrient waste streams, including synergies with biogas production. It will include perspectives for nitrogen recovery, such as ammonia stripping from digestate, manure storage, and NOx emissions reductions from waste water treatment.
It will review the various technologies for nutrient recycling today at either full or pilot scale, based on the ESPP’s Nutrient Recovery Technology Catalogue. This covers input materials, current implementation status, and output products and fate of contaminants.
The presentation will also review the regulations and drivers that are shaping the development of nutrient recycling. This will focus on some outstanding questions and obstacles, such as the implementation status of the German and Swiss P-recovery obligations and perspectives in other countries. Also considered will be Landfill tax, Water policy, Farm-to-Fork, Circular Economy policy and other drivers.
Producing High Quality Blends for Precise and Complete Fertilisation
Peter Scott, European Fertiliser Blenders Association, UK
The demand for multi-nutrient, prescription fertilisers is growing rapidly across the UK and many European countries. The paper considers the agronomic, economic and environmental factors that are driving this change and assesses the essential role of high-quality blended compound fertilisers in meeting the demand. New data will be presented which demonstrates the accuracy and consistency of blends produced in accordance with the European Fertiliser Blenders Association’s (EFBA) ‘Handbook of Solid Fertiliser Blending’ in terms of nutrient analysis and nutrient distribution during spreading.
Agronomic trial data comparing the effect on crop yield and quality between standard complex compounds and prescription blended fertilisers will also be presented. In addition to yield and crop quality, the data will also compare differences in key sustainability indicators including Nitrogen Use Efficiency and greenhouse gas crop intensity.
Finally, a new quality assurance scheme for the production of fertiliser blends will be introduced. This initiative, to be rolled out in 2023, is based on the EFBA handbook, will be audited by an independent certification body and is intended to underpin the essential need for high quality blended fertilisers.
Co-authors: Mandy McAulay and Dean Dunn, Origin UK Operations Limited
Fertiliser supply chain security using DNA tagging: potential benefits and a case study
Tony Benson, Applied DNA Sciences, UK
Counterfeit fertiliser is a global issue, with blind tests regularly highlighting the high proportion of substandard product on sale to farmers, particularly in poorer countries. Fake fertilisers cost the world’s economy billions of dollars a year; reduce crop yields and may even contain toxic materials which are harmful to human health. The nature of fertilisers means that it is extremely difficult to differentiate between counterfeit and genuine products without extensive laboratory testing. This paper will consider the use of synthetic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecular tags to “label” the fertilisers themselves, as well as to secure printed batch information on outer packaging. The SigNature® DNA tags used in this case study can be authenticated in the field using portable testing equipment, providing forensic traceability throughout the supply chain.
In this example a unique DNA tag was added to granular fertiliser in the coating drum. Homogeneity testing showed that this provided a consistent method of application, with the level of DNA recovery closely correlated with the amount of coating added to the drum. This uniform tagging performance enabled dilution of fertiliser with untagged granules to be successfully detected. Analysis also confirmed the DNA was extremely stable on fertilizer for a period of at least 12 months at elevated temperatures (60°C).
A case study demonstrating the practical use of DNA tagged fertiliser will be presented. This will follow the full-scale production of 18,000 metric tonnes of granular fertiliser in Europe through to a final destination in Ghana where in field authentication of the SigNature DNA tag confirmed the fertiliser to be a genuine product. This successful trial established the applicability and usefulness of DNA tagging to enhance traceability throughout the global fertiliser supply chain.