Monday, August 13, 2012

Wastewater As Fertilizer? Why not!

Using liquid manure, wastewater and sewage sludge as the fertilizer components for food production has been quite a common way to boost crops in agriculture. Fraunhofer scientists have now come up with a “green”, chemical - free process allowing the recovered salts to be converted directly into organic food for crops.
Every person that works in agriculture industry knows that phosphorus is the essential element, not only for plants but for every living organism. However lately, farmers have faced the increasing shortage of that mineral and as a result, the prices of phosphate-based fertilizers have soared. That is why coming up with the alternative solution was just a question of time.
The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart have invented a solution allowing the use of the locally available resources which are abundant in the wastewater from sewage treatment plants and in the fermentation residues from biogas plants. The process, developed by the researchers,  precipitates out the nutrients in a form that allows applying them directly as fertilizer. That energy- saving, eco – friendly process is now being tested in a mobile pilot plant. It seems that agriculture has received a powerful ally when it comes to improving crop performance!

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