The developed technology includes a plant and a methodology to treat organic fluid waste containing ammonium (for example slurry and/or digestates deriving from organic degradation processes) and to produce a fertilizer with slow and controlled release of nitrogen.

The plant includes a system to: i) introduce the adsorbent material (i.e., zeolites) and the organic waste; ii) mix the materials during treatment and separate solid from liquid after the reaction; iii) measure the concentration of ammonium in the suspension; iv) wash and store the material.

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Potential stakeholders and targets:

  • From medium to large-sized farms that intend to valorize livestock waste by producing a fertilizer to use in their crop and/or sell.
  • Subcontractors interested exclusively in the production of fertilizer material and its sale on several distribution networks (from large companies to hobby gardening / horticulture).


Livestock slurry is rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are elements essential for plant growth. Manure are spread over agricultural land following specific directives. However, the nitrogen contained in them can only be minimally captured by crops (not at all if the spreading does not occur during the vegetative development). The portion not captured will inevitably pollute surface waters, groundwater and the atmosphere (most of the greenhouse gases are nitrogen compounds deriving from agriculture and livestock).

Through this technology it is possible to mix livestock manure with zeolite, a silicate that can trap ammonium from solution (slurry) through a cation exchange reactions (i.e., zeolite releases cations like sodium, calcium and potassium and adsorbs ammonium from slurry). Subsequently, the exchanged zeolite can be spread in soil and ammonium will be released “on-demand” during plant growth. In addition, zeolite in soil once “discharged” can be “recharged” by spreading slurry or other fertilizers, considerably reducing their environmental impact.

Current Technology Limitations

To limit the impact produced by organic waste, various types of plants are currently used, in which livestock sewage and / or digestates are treated in order to reduce their nitrogen content. These plants are based on physicochemical or biochemical procedures. In the former, nitrogen is removed by mechanical separation with membranes, through microfiltration, osmosis, electrolysis, stripping processes. In plants using biochemical procedures (biological reactors), nitrogen is instead removed through nitrification-denitrification processes, arrested oxidation of nitrites or combined processes. However, both the plants mentioned are complex and expensive to build and manage. Furthermore, they produce materials which can be used as fertilizers with an immediate but temporary action (therefore they do not produce a definitive improvement of the chemical and physical properties of the soil).

The main advantage of the proposed technology is that it is based on a plant, substantially simple, not expensive to build and manage, through which it is possible to treat slurry to significantly reduce its ammonium concentration and, at the same time, produce a fertilizer and, simultaneously a soil improver.

Killer Application

The ammonium-charged zeolite can be used in several applications, also reducing the need for the use of synthetic fertilizers reducing costs and environmental impact. To complete the framework of good agro-zootechnical practices, it is obvious that the use of zeolite in agronomy can be even more effective when combined with other good agricultural practices.

The implementation of this technology in the field can also be favored by targeted and developed support within the Rural Development Plan. The comparison and integration of practices and their implementation would be very useful to allow a more sustainable development, especially in vulnerable areas.

The combination of these good practices and an agro-zootechnical management more sensitive to the environment could therefore become a reference model also for a transfer in terms of management innovation of the territory at not only provincial or regional, but also in a national and international context.

Our Technology and Solutions

The invention relates to a plant for treating organic substances deriving from waste, in particular slurries with a high concentration of ammonia. Through the plant wastes are mixed with zeolite in quantities and modes that allow the optimization of the adsorption process, through cationic exchange reactions.

The soil amendment / fertilizer thus obtained, once added to any type of soil, is able to release ammonium in relation to the “nutritional needs” of the growing plants, thus preventing its dispersion in the surface water system and in the groundwater.


  • Significant and modulated reduction of ammonia nitrogen concentration in wastewater;
  • Less complexity and greater cost-effectiveness compared to known plants, such as stripping and nitro-denitro plants;
  • Production of material that allows a controlled release of ammonia nitrogen, based on the real needs of the plants.


  • Agricultural consortia and / or large farms and farms for the production of amendments / fertilizers for soils and cultivation substrates, which can also be used in organic farming;
  • Environmental agencies aimed at promoting more sustainable agriculture by reducing ammonium (and pollutants) content in livestock and / or urban waste and in the digestates of biomass power plants.
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