The BioRefinex facilities will recycle organic waste material to produce high grade organic nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilizers. Plants require large quantities of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and, to a lesser extent, sulphur (S), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Another 8 to 10 micronutrients are also necessary, depending on the specific crop. Every harvest removes nutrients from the soil. Organic fertilizers in particular help restore the full complement of micronutrients and organic matter needed by soils. By replenishing these nutrients, fertilizers help safeguard or improve soil fertility and make it possible to continue producing large harvests.
The organic food and fertilizer markets have been growing dramatically in North America and worldwide particularly over the last 10 to 15 years. According to the US Organic Trade Association’s 2014 Organic Industry Survey, U.S. consumer sales of organic products have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $32.3 billion in 2013, averaging a growth rate of over 17% per annum. Organic sales growth continues to outpace total sales of comparable conventional food and non-food items by a significant margin.
The increasing conversion of operations and land by farmers and producers to organic is driving the overall market for organic fertilizers. The organic fertilizer industry is a growing sector responding to the increasing consumer concerns about nutritional health and environmental sustainability. Organic fertilizers provide the following key benefits:
- Slowly release nutrients with multiple year benefits (compared to chemical fertilizers)
- Wide spectrum of primary, secondary and trace elements
- Sources are renewable and natural materials
- Reduced pollution of watershed from nutrient leaching
- Sustain soil life by adding organic matter and increasing the soil’s microbial population
- Accelerate remediation of contaminated soil
In addition, if these products are manufactured using the BioRefinex process, there are two significant advantages that yield a superior product, namely: (1) no pathogenic agents are present in the hydrolyzed nutrients, and (2) there is increased availability of the nutrients for the plant roots and soil microbes resulting from the hydrolysis process.
The nutritional value of animal inedible materials and other organic waste means that they are too valuable to be buried in landfills or destroyed through incineration processes. Thermal hydrolysis transforms this material into safe and effective organic fertilizer products, which will recycle nutrients back into the earth and sustain the vitality of the soils, protect animal and human health, and increase economic benefits to livestock producers. The Lacombe BioRefinex project will demonstrate to the world an innovation that will not only bring a viable new solution to the processing of animal by-products, but also meet the challenge of transforming society’s animal, plant and human disease risk wastes into life and earth sustaining products.