Bonus Projects

PROMISE - Phosphorus recycling of mixed substances

PROMISE background

Phosphorus (P) is essential for all living organisms, but its global reserves are finite and expected to diminish severely in the next 50 to 100 years. Neglecting this, dissipating large quantities of P is a common practice as anthropogenic wastes are co-incinerated, dumped and rejected from recycling, and animal manures are excessively applied to arable land in areas of concentrated livestock production. Currently mining of primary P reserves adds further pressure to the agricultural P cycle as inorganic fertilizers are used to substitute the poorly functioning re-use of organic materials containing P.

Consequently P is leached from soils, and agriculture has become the largest contributor to the non-point P load in the Baltic Sea region. This controversial situation with present P induced eutrophication against its future scarcity can be resolved only by better recycling from urban and agricultural organic wastes. The valuable P must be conserved by processing the materials further and making them suitable for recycling.  In order to produce safe, recycled fertilizers, handling and treatment procedures need to be improved and implemented as the current P-rich materials may still contain significant amounts of organic contaminants, heavy metals and pathogens.

PROMISE in short

In PROMISE, differently treated organic and recycled P fertilizers will be studied for their beneficial as well as for their harmful properties. PROMISE will convey backbone data on potentially hazardous contaminants and thereby further assess strategies for P fertilization that can acknowledge food safety and food security in future. Mono-incineration together with successive processing is taken as one example of a possible way to ensure a full recovery of phosphorus in a safe fertilizer product.

Project partners

  • Natural Resources Institute Finland, Jokioinen (coordinating partner)

               Coordinator Prof. Eila Turtola (

  •  Julius Kühn-Institut, Quedlinburg, Germany

  • Outotec GmbH, Oberursel, Germany

  • National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden


Project budget is ca. 465 000 €.

PROMISE receives funding from BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme (Art 185), funded jointly from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration and from Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, PTJ – Projektträger Jülich Forschungszentrum Jülich and Vinnova.

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