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Successful first site visit to DIGESMART unit

On Friday the 15th of April 2016 the first pilot site visit was organized to the DIGESMART implementation site at IVACO in Zevekote (Belgium). Some 35 interested farmers, biogas operators, manure processors and policy officers attended the event. Before the actual site visit, an introduction to the project and some of the results were presented in  a nearby community venue.

“Recuperation of nutrients rather than dispose of them will be the way to go, but it needs to be at a reasonable price”, stated one of the visitors who works within the biological manure processing industry. This statement would fit well as one of the goals of the DIGESMART project, in which diffuse and diluted N, P and K are recovered separately and concentrated in a useful formulation, especially so with the produced ammonium nitrate.

A practical and advantageous use of the ameliorated nitrogen is found agriculture. The stripping/scrubbing product can quite easy offset the use of mineral fertilizer, because of the similar characteristics. The ammonium nitrate is produced in concentrated liquid form and was tested on the field in a representative maize trial. Comparable yield and nitrate residues were demonstrated.

DIGESMART for a good business model

The use of effluent from biogas plants means a high transport cost in areas with a high livestock density. Also transporting huge loads of effluent holds no logic, because of the negative economic value of the product. At the same time, farmers still use a significant amount of artificial fertilizers at high purchase price. A solution that can tackle both of these business concerns would have a great added value for the businessman.
The university of Turin calculated that saving in logistics can have a significant impact on a biogas site business plan. An example for a biogas site with 380 ha of land to distribute the digestate learns us that yearly savings in fertilizer distribution can add up to about 90,000 euro. Only taking this advantage into account and calculating with opportunity costs gives already a possible payback time of around 10 years.
Taking into account other advantages will definitely lead to lower payback times. If we look at the DIGESMART solution to “repower” already existing processing systems in order to optimize them for future prolonged operation. By adding for instance the stripping/scrubbing to a biological nitrification/denitrification, the capacity of the already existing installation can be increased significantly without the need for a large additional area. Full business plan elaboration is still in progress and the project partners are able to calculate specific cases. Interested parties should contact one of the people below in the contact area. (free of charge)
Special attention can be drawn to the fact that the ammonium nitrate is a bio-based product and can achieve end-of-waste, and so become a recycled product. With the correct labelling and LCA accounting, businesses can use this product in their production processes. This is a means of achieving a lower carbon footprint and increase sustainability.

More information about this recent update can be acquired by contacting:
Belgium:          Biogas-E , Detricon Jonathan De Mey -
Italy:                 DISAFA, SATA               Remigio Berruto -
Spain:              AINIA                            Paz Gomez –  

The project is getting more and more outreach

An (academic) outreach was made through a doctoral school organized at the University of Milan on the 22nd of March 2016. Prof. Berruto presented the key items of the DIGESMART project to the attendees. A second recent communication was targeted to policy makers at the European level. Biogas-E contributed to the circular economy workshop of the European Biogas Association on the 6th of April 2016. This event was organized in Brussels and targeted national and European stakeholders. By contributing to these type of events, a solid base is constructed for further interaction with academia and policy makers. Events that want to get their audience to know the DIGESMART-project can contact one of the people below.
More information about this recent update can be acquired by contacting:
Italy:              DISAFA, SATA               Remigio Berruto -
Spain:            AINIA                            Paz Gomez –  
Belgium:        Biogas-E                 Jonathan De Mey -  
Copyright © 2016 DIGESMART, All rights reserved.

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Note: This is a newsletter of the project DIGESMART and can be distributed freely. The responsibility for the content of this document lies with the authors. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Community. The EACI is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein. The information contained is given for information purposes only and does not legally bind any of the parties involved