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The agronomic and environmental potential of nitrogen enriched organic substrate

Alternative title: Nitrogenanriket organisk substrat - potensial som miljøvennlig gjødsel

Awarded: NOK 1.8 mill.

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Project Period:

2020 - 2024

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N2 Applied has developed a novel method for treatment of organic substrates intended for fertiliser use. The method uses air and electricity to generate an air plasma. When the nitrogen in the air passes through the plasma, a share of the nitrogen will become reactive and can be absorbed by the organic substrate. Consequently, the nitrogen content in the substrate increases. In addition the process will stabilise the nitrogen, resulting in reduces ammonia emissions. The production of methane from the organic substrate is also reduced. The process will therefore increase the fertiliser value of the substrate, reduce air pollution by preventing the loss of ammonia, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by reducing methane emissions and replacing fossil-based nitrogen fertilisers. As nitrogen enriched organic substrate is a new fertiliser with significant effects for agriculture, the nitrogen- and carbon transformations in the nitrogen enriched organic substrate will be mapped in a doctoral thesis.

N2 Applied has developed a technology that improves the fertilizer value of organic substrates. In short, the technology uses electricity and air to enrich organic substrates with nitrogen while simultaneously reducing nitrogen losses. The novelty of the technology calls for research both to document its effects and to promote its application. The agronomic performance of the resulting nitrogen enriched organic substrate (NEO) is an important part of the research. Three separate categories encompass NEO’s agronomic performance: 1. Storage stability 2. Fertilizer efficiency 3. Impact on greenhouse gas emissions To make NEO a commercially successful and environmentally viable approach, nitrogen losses must be kept low during storage, and once applied, the fertilizer efficiency should equal that of mineral fertilizer. In addition, the treatment should reduce the aggregated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with fertilizer use. N2 Applied has already conducted a series of trials investigating some of NEO’s properties during storage and as a fertilizer, with encouraging results. But to further advance NEO, a more rigorous scientific approach is needed. Hence this proposal for a PhD project.