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Grupo Fertiberia will build a demo plant in Huelva for the recovery of nutrients from bio-waste and their valorisation in the fertiliser industry

With an investment of 10 million Euros, the company is leading Europe's most important circular economy project in the plant nutrition sector

  • Grupo Fertiberia will build a demo plant in Huelva for the treatment of bio-waste and the recovery of its nutrients, as part of the B-FERST circular economy project. With this project, the company is taking a decisive step towards entering the advanced bio-based fertilisation market, validated on a European scale.

Huelva was the city chosen by the company to launch this project, which will involve an investment of more than 2 million Euros, reinforcing its commitment to a province in which it has two production plants, one in the capital and one in the town of Palos de la Frontera.

The industrial firm's R&D&I director, Javier Brañas, explained that "the construction of this demo plant is aimed at extracting insoluble phosphorous from waste sources of various origins, especially bio-waste. The main feature of this process, for which a European patent has been applied for, is the thermal coupling of the two main reactors, so that phosphorus recovery is optimised with minimum energy consumption in the two stages of digestion and neutralisation.” In this regard, he specified that the plant will have a production capacity of 500 kg/h of mono and dicalcium phosphate and that it will be located next to the industrial NPK complex fertiliser plant.

This new demo plant is part of the European H2020 B-FERST project, led by Grupo Fertiberia, the purpose of which is to increase the profitability of agriculture in a more sustainable way through the valorisation of bio-waste from agricultural activity. Therefore, the objective of B-FERST, which has an investment of 10 million Euros, is to close the nutrient cycle in intensive agriculture, transforming the manufacture of fertilisers towards a new production model based on the circular economy, which will lead to a reduction of the carbon footprint by at least 10%, minimising its environmental impact.

According to André Negrão, director of the Huelva plant, "with the Huelva project we are taking another step towards our goal of leading the fertilisation of the future in Europe."

"The demo plant will reduce the environmental impact associated with fertiliser production, optimising processes and reducing its carbon footprint, while increasing the efficiency and productivity of new nutritional products," he stressed.

The B-FERST Project

The European Union has the most efficient agriculture in the world and the most advanced fertiliser manufacturing industry with the lowest carbon footprint. However, it is heavily dependent on foreign raw materials for the production of mineral fertilisers (natural gas, phosphate rock, etc.). For this reason, the project seeks to improve the management and recovery of waste by utilising the nutrients it contains, improving the sustainability of agriculture and the competitiveness of farmers, reducing said dependence on external sources, and increasing the resilience of the European fertiliser industry.

B-FERST's main aim is to create new value chains incorporating the recovery of bio-waste into agricultural management plans, transforming municipal or agri-food waste into fertilisers, thereby contributing to the circular economy and the EU's green chemistry goals. The project introduces more efficient resource management technology through tailored nutrient dosing. In this sense, the reuse of bio-waste to replace mining raw materials, which are mainly imported and energy-intensive, is essential to reverse the loss of soil nutrients.

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