Economic Recovery of Phosphorus Critical Raw Material for Sustainable Food Crop Production
The element phosphorus (P) has many key important functions in plants. Its use in agriculture has become increasingly prevalent in recent decades as pressure to increase crop yields/quality has grown and levels of the P-nutrient present in the soil have been significantly depleted and/or not plant available.
The non-renewable mined phosphate rock is the only significant commercial source of phosphorus used to manufacture P-fertilizer. The mineral phosphate resources containing high level of Cadmium and Uranium high-toxic contaminations that is providing high risk for the food safety and the environment. The European mineral phosphate import reliance is as high as >88% with associated high supply risk, the end-of-life recycling rate is as low as <17% and having no any substitution alternative for the substance at all. Therefore early substitution of critical raw-material mineral phosphates with bio-based, safe and renewable bio-phosphates is an important target already in short term in all sustainable agricultural operations.
Terra Humana Ltd. has systematically developed a Bio-Phosphate process for the recovery of phosphorus from food-grade animal bones that is providing an abundant alternative replacement source of the P-nutrient with higher agronomic efficiency/value versus the mined phosphate rock and imported chemo-synthetically processed P-fertilizers.
Bio-Phosphate is made from the industrial scale available and domestic source unexploited biomass food grade animal bone grist. The bone grist from the rendering industry is the input to the unique high temperature 3R zero emission pyrolysis process, which is specifically developed for animal bone processing application. The material is processed at 850 degree Celsius material-core carbonization temperature, that is far higher than usual biomass carbonization-processing temperatures, but absolute needed to get high quality and safe product. The output is a specific Bio-Phosphate fertilising product with >30% P2O5 content, high porosity and unique material character, which is about the same concentration as P-rock based fertilisers and considerably higher P-concentrated than most other organic sources. The process also produces refined bio- oil for auto-thermal energetic utilization.
There is a long list of technical, economical, environmental and user benefits for the Bio-Phosphate applications, including:
- Negligible cadmium, no uranium content. Bio-Phosphate cadmium levels are less than <0.1mg Cd/kg detection limit, compared with the usual 30-200mg Cd/kg and variable uranium content in imported P-rock.
- Sustainable natural source and bio-product: Bio-Phosphate comes from sustainable and renewable by-product streams that are unexploited biomass versus the mined, finite resource, non renewable and contaminated mineral phosphate.
- High added value conversion of low value food-industrial waste streams into sustainable bio-based economy with safe, low-cost and high-efficient solution that is resulting an unique Bio-Phosphate natural product.
- Zero emission 3R processing solution.
- The natural Bio-Phosphate product having high agronomic efficiency, total material safety and use demanded performance.
- Energy self-sufficient and auto-thermal process with refined bio-oil based surplus green energy.
- Improving yields, quality and food safety at organic/low input farming applications. Field tests showed that the Bio-Phosphate product and its BIO-NPK-C formulations can improve yields by >15% compared with any fertiliser on the market.