Trials - Potential new markets for biofertiliser

Trials into potential new markets for biofertiliser (anaerobic digestate) may result in a cost effective alternative to expensive fertilisers in a range of applications, from sports turf and biomass production, to improving the nutrient value in topsoil.

Introduction

The landmark projects across England, Scotland and Wales were commissioned by WRAP to explore the use of biofertiliser produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) on sites ranging from golf courses to former industrial land depleted of nutrients. The trials focus on sports turf fertiliser, habitat creation and growth of biomass crop production on brownfield land.

Katherine Church, Project Manager, WRAP, described the trials as ground-breaking. She said: “We have seen significant improvement in how vegetation establishes itself in brownfield restoration and sports turfs through the use of BSI PAS 100 compost. I am confident that biofertiliser will offer additional environmental and economic benefits.

“If successful, the results will have far reaching implications for a wide range of regeneration programmes and sports turf applications. The use of anaerobic digestate could open new markets on a national scale.”

Anaerobic digestion employs micro-organisms to break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen. The process generates biogas and also results in a nutrient rich 'digestate' also known as biofertiliser. The technology has historically been employed by the water industry to treat slurries but is increasingly being used in the UK to digest household and commercial food waste while generating renewable energy. It is widely viewed as a valuable technology for tackling renewables targets while helping to divert food waste from landfill.