The topic of nutrient recovery takes on a new meaning in Germany due to the amendment of the Fertilizer Ordinances (DüV / DüMV). In particular, the discussion about the upcoming EU infringement proceedings due to excessive nitrate concentration in groundwater led to the identification of numerous nitrate and phosphate-sensitive areas in which fertilization of agricultural areas is only allowed within very strict limitations. This means that many farms have to find new ways of using digestate and liquid manure.
Also aimed at nutrients - in particular phosphorus - the new sewage sludge regulation specifies requirements for the recovery of phosphorus from sewage sludge. This means that from 2029 at the latest there is compulsory to recover phosphorus from sewage sludge with a phosphorus content of 20 grams or more per kilogram of dry matter. Exceptions to the recovery obligation only apply to sewage sludge with low phosphorus content (less than 20 grams of phosphorus per kilogram of sewage sludge (dry matter)).
Overall, the regulations increase the pressure on waste management and the agriculture sector to close material cycles and establish a circular economy
Overall, nutrient recovery is becoming increasingly important against the background of Europe-wide legislation and discussion about sustainability and climate change.
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