CETENMA CSCP, GAIA Cluster, and G!E are partners in a new Horizon Europe project – SOILUTIONS – that will kick-off in March 2023. With a budget of €3.5 million, the project will work for three years to foster the access to market of bio-waste soil improvers. This is currently a challenge mainly due to the limited range of commercial technologies, safety concerns, the low efficacy of products, and insufficient market awareness.
Soil health is a key concern in European and global environmental policies. Through the EU Mission Soil Health and Food, the European Commission aims to ensure that 75% of soils are healthy by 2030 and reach 100% by 2050. To support these objectives, several policies and international commitments encourage the implementation of new valorisation processes to enhance the treatment of bio-waste as a sustainable alternative to synthetic soil products, the main ones being the European Green Deal, the Fertilising Products Regulation, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Integrated Nutrient Management Plan (in progress), the Landfilling Directive, the Farm-to-Fork Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
SOILUTIONS strives for the large-scale adoption of four bio-based circular value-chains: bio-waste soil improvers containing hygenised animal blood, frass, N-struvite and K-struvite. The workplan encompasses value-chain validation, safety and efficacy assessments, business models, as well as increased market awareness and uptake, through a multi-actor approach that involves:
- 3 living labs in Flanders (BE), Valencia (ES) and Murcia (ES), to catalyse entrepreneurship and market implementation of bio-waste soil improvers through co-creation with producers, end-users (e.g., land managers, city councils, farmers), research centres, public bodies and civil society.
- Technical partners to provide environmental, social and economic assessment of the proposed solutions.
With its results, SOILUTIONS expects to increase the product portfolio and market availability of bio-waste soil improvers, thereby reducing mineral fertilisers usage in soils. This will contribute to the Farm-to-Fork targets – mostly “cutback of mineral fertiliser usage of 20% by 2030” – and help reduce associated negative environmental impacts (GHG emissions, exploitation of fossil resources, soil degradation).
Jeronimo Franco, SAV