Host – Gent University, Belgium
EU agriculture is heavily import-dependent for synthetic fertilisers such as ore for phosphorus (P) and fossil fuel for nitrogen (N), and their use results in large environmental impacts at local, regional and global scales. To counteract this, there is a need for increased substitution of nutrients in synthetic mineral fertiliser with waste-derived nutrients originating from bio-based sources. The successful candidate will investigate; mass flows of both major (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and minor nutrients (Cu, Zn, Fe) as well as organic carbon in the downstream processing of digestates exiting AgRefine’s TPB 1st phase; a cascade of recovery techniques that will allow production of multiple refined organo-mineral fertilisers, soil enhancers and growth substrates; and a novel Nitrogen (NH3/NH4) stripping/scrubbing process. The candidate will further investigate the novel continuous N recovery technique by comparing and contrasting it to current post-AD-digestate nitrogen removal techniques.
Initially based at UGent under the supervision of Prof. Meers, the candidate will undertake another secondment to Tipperary County Council (Ireland) to examine the regulatory aspects governing use of digestates.