Stopford, in partnership with academic and industrial collaborators, has been awarded funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) and Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) to enable further development of a disruptive approach for the production of sustainable fertilisers for use in agriculture.
Nutragy is an eco-friendly process, that upgrades low-value residues from the bio-energy industry into high-value fertiliser products, providing a truly circular approach to crop nutrition.
With a chemical and physical specification akin to that of synthetic fertilisers, Nutragy can be used as a low-carbon alternative to energy intensive synthetic fertilisers.
The innovation project will further develop a prototype Nutragy manufacturing facility, alongside crop efficacy trials to further validate the performance of the Nutragy fertiliser products.
The Nutragy technology serves to reduce costs, associated with the management of process residues, for bio-energy operators, whilst enabling farmers to enhance crop productivity, soil quality and sustainability.
The FIP funding, managed by UKRI’s transforming food production challenge, seeks to support the investigation of solutions that have the potential to improve sustainability, productivity and resilience of UK farming on a path to net zero.
The collaborative project will see the technology’s inventor Dr. Ben Herbert, Director of Technology & Innovation at Stopford, work alongside colleagues from Lancaster University, Allium Energy, Ashcourt Farms, Recycled Crop Nutrients and ROOTS Organics to fast-track the technical and commercial development of Nutragy.
Dr. Ben Herbert said: “I am delighted that our Nutragy technology has been recognised by UKRI’s and Defra’s FIP Challenge as a ground breaking technology to enhance the sustainability of agriculture, and I very much look forward to working with our project partners to achieve our mutual ambitions of enabling a truly circular approach to crop nutrition.”
Prof. Ian Dodd, Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Lancaster University commented: “Given recent massive hikes in fertiliser prices, it is extremely timely to be awarded this funding, as farmers face disruption to their usual business model. We’ve been collaborating with Stopford on this for more than 5 years now, and I’m excited to engage with a range of partners to deliver this technology to market. Together, we look forward to future engagements and opportunities.”
Ged Denny, Technical Director at Allium Energy added: “This is an exciting project, particularly the use of waste materials to derive a specific product to deliver nutrients to agriculture, which in turn reduces demand on finite natural resources”
Nutragy is expected to overcome substantial limitations relating to the use of synthetic fertilisers, including resilience to fluctuations in oil price, carbon intensity, and reliance on finite reserves of potassium and phosphorus.
UKRI’s £90 million transforming food production programme is part the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and aims to help the agricultural sector grow economically with less environmental impact.
The programme will set food production systems towards net zero emissions by 2040 by producing food in ways that are more:
It will accelerate the development and adoption of integrated precision approaches to improve productivity in agricultural systems. The investment will be made over four years.
The programme will focus on the development, demonstration and adoption of data-driven systems and technologies to achieve a better approach to agricultural production and reduce emissions.
The remit includes both crop and farmed animal production, as well, as new production systems. The long-term success of the challenge is dependent on a diverse range of farm businesses adopting new technologies and approaches.
Stopford are world class innovators, with a portfolio of Stopford owned green technologies; established in 1982 an international multi-disciplinary consultancy, engineering design and project management services company with a proven track record in developing innovative process technologies and process solutions for commercially successful innovation.