Nutrient recovery from livestock by-products by thermochemical process (pyrolysis)

Problem statement

The direct agricultural use of by-products of the livestock industry with protein content provides a high environmental risk due to possible trans- and recontamination by human and animal pathogens.

Executive summary

The aim of the 3R Zero emission technology is the recovery of nutrients through the valorisation of animal by-products into high-value organic phosphorus fertilisers and bio-oils by integrated thermal and biotechnological recycling means. The products are "Animal BioChar" - organic biophosphate fertiliser and NPK bioformulations.

Technology description

ABC (Animal Bone Char) - Biophosphate fertiliser is made from different types of food-grade animal bone grindings, which are heated up to 850 ºC. During this advanced pyrolysis (reductive thermal processing) all volatile and protein-based substances are removed, resulting in a highly macro-porous apatite-type mineral composed of hydroxyapatite (70-76%), CaCO3 (7-13%) and carbon (8-11%). The output products are of high quality and sterile and can be used for agricultural and environmental applications (adsorbents). The process is flexible in terms of the inputs to be used as it can handle a wide range of organic materials. The operational prototype has been successfully demonstrated between 2005 and 2019 and will be scaled up to an average scale of 2,500 t/year in 2020, with the next level being 20,800 t/year. In economic terms, it requires low investment and low operation and maintenance costs. Finally, there is the possibility to combine the system with biogas and composting processes. This technology has been developed with the support of the European Union through the different Framework Programmes (FP6, FP7 and H2020).

Market deployment considerations

Implementation plans in EU27, USA, Japan and Australia.

Environmental considerations


Technology feedstock

livestock waste

Type of process

thermal process

Technology output



Village, Community

Technology Readiness Level







Private sector

Technology owner/developer

Terra Humana Ltd.
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