Oxford-based CCm Technologies has developed a method of producing nitrogen fertiliser from bio-solids and the carbon dioxide captured from the waste gases. The fertiliser returns carbon to the soil and stimulates an increase in micro-organisms, promoting a healthy soil. The process is one of the emerging technologies to be discussed at the Agri-Tech East Event ‘Closing the loop on the circular economy’ on 5th June 2019.
Dr Peter Hammond of CCm Technologies explains: “We can make equivalents of most compound fertilisers and these have performed well in trials. Findings just reported in the Journal of CO2 Utilisation* show a yield enhancement compared to soil enriched with compost.
“The fertiliser uses bio-solids from anaerobic digestion and carbon dioxide sourced from post combustion gas streams and plant materials. The carbon is converted to calcium carbonate in the final product, which makes the nitrogen more bioavailable and increases the carbon content of the soil. With this organic carbon we have seen uplift in the populations of soil micro flora and fauna.”
University of Sheffield’s soil science facility, P3, has established that CCm’s fertiliser material increases water and nutrient retention around the root ball by between 35-60% dependent on different control materials, replenishes soil carbon, raises the pH and temperature of the soil and boosts microbial activity in excess of 25% compared to the compost control. Peter is confident about its performance.
He says: “The process is able to source much of its nitrogen from non-fossil sources. It is scalable and in directly comparative trials carried out by Velcourt, Royal Agricultural University and Harper Adams University it produces the same yield response as conventional ammonium nitrate – and has done so for the last four years.”
The obstacle now is gaining industry support.
Peter continues: “Scale-up of production and market acceptance are the main obstacles – however, we do have a plant capable of producing 5,000t at the moment with two larger facilities planned for construction this autumn in the UK and another in Canada.”
Dr Belinda Clarke, director of the membership organisation Agri-Tech East, says: “CCm Technologies is one of a number of inspirational approaches that use waste from one process as input to another. The event will also look at novel uses for crop waste.”
Other speakers at the event include: Gareth Roberts, CEO of Cambond; Naomi Pendleton, Head of Technical and CSR at AMT Fruit; Joe Halsted, CEO of AgriGrub; Steve Taylor, CEO of Celbius; Fabio Flagiello, Visiting Researcher, Universita’ di Napoli Parthenope; and it is to be chaired by Meredith Lloyd Evans, CEO of BioBridge.
‘Closing the Loop on the Circular Economy’ takes place on Wednesday 5th June 2019 from 13.30 – 17.00, at Centrum on the Norwich Research Park. Find out more at www.agri-tech-e.co.uk/events