Research project Reducing mineral fertilisers and agro-chemicals by recycling treated organic waste as compost and bio-char products

Biochar (c) oregondepartmentofforestry

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Bart Vandecasteele

Bart Vandecasteele

Expert in sustainable growing media


General introduction

The FERTIPLUS project assists the EU in the design and implementation of innovative strategies and technologies for the recycling of waste to both compost and biochar for use in agriculture. Bio-waste has a great potential for conversion into bio-energy or as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. The core theme of FERTIPLUS is to ensure that good quality bio-wastes are brought back to the soil in such a way that their nutrients are safely recycled, contributing to soil quality improvement and reducing the use of chemicals in agriculture.

Research approach

Within FERTIPLUS, ILVO determines the influence of biochar addition on compost storage, and evaluates innovations for creating added-value products. Furthermore, ILVO sets up and executes lab scale experiments and bioassays with different biochars, composts and biochar-blended composts. Further, we continue and sample existing field scale experiments with composts and biochar. The results of these bioassays, laboratory and field trials allow for evaluation of nutrient dynamics, enhanced soil health and evaluation of overall soil biodiversity.


One of the key deliverables of the project is a series of guidelines for the different materials produced in relation to the best application practices for an effective and safe utilization of the end products (biochar, compost and biochar-blended compost). These cover applications in the field on in greenhouses. The main concerns while developing these guidelines are environmental sustainability, economic feasibility and viability.