WP 1: Closing the cycle of P application in agriculture

Within WP 1 we aim on developing, testing, and optimising approaches for capturing P in drainage systems. We will convert the resulting P-containing Fe(III)oxides into marketable fertilisers and soil conditioners, and demonstrate the suitability of these products for agriculture.

WP 1 is lead by the University of Vienna, and has the following objectives:

i) Develop technologies to retain and recover P, that is leaking from agricultural soils, within drained Systems
ii) Develop a procedure, based on microbial transformation, to convert P-loaded Fe(III) oxides into fertilizers and soil conditioners
iii) Demonstrate the suitability of P-loaded Fe(III) oxides and its conversion products as fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Specifically, a cartridge-based phosphorous trapping system (P-TRAP system) that can be applied in drained agricultural will be developed along with quantitative models to enable performance predictions. The long-term performance of the Fe-containing sorbents in drainage systems will be investigated at selected test sites. Another objective is the investigation of the microbial conversion of P-loaded Fe(III) oxides into vivianite and other products of higher economical value, and the effect of their application to agricultural soils.

To achieve the objectives, WP 1 has several tasks. Each task involves several participants and leads to distinct deliverables and milestones, which have to be reported towards the EC.

Task 1: Develop barrier systems (P-TRAP system) to retain and recover dissolved P in drainage systems (GEOS, UBT, KUL, UU)
Develop novel granular materials from Fe-containing by-products of water treatment, test the characteristics of these materials regarding P-binding, hydraulic properties and stability under field conditions, develop suitable carriers for these materials which can be employed in drained agricultural areas, test the performance of the P-TRAP system under field conditions.

Task 2: Develop approaches to optimise the retention and recovery of naturally formed, Fe-associated P in drainage systems (DELTARES, KUL, UBT, EAWAG)
Transport and transformation of naturally formed Feassociated P in drained systems will be studied, opportunities of using hydraulic measures to retain Fe-associated P will be explored, possibilities to recover these P containing solids will be identified.

Task 3: Development of microbial technology to converting P-containing Fe(III) oxides into vivianite and other soil fertilizers or conditioners (UNIMAN, EAWAG, UU, US)
Procedures, based on microbial reduction of Fe(III), will be tested and evaluated to convert P-containing Fe(III) oxides into vivianite and other products of potential value as fertilizer or soil conditioner.

Task 4: Amelioration of soils by addition of vivianite or other solids containing Fe and P (US, KUL, UNIVIE)
The effect of addition solids containing Fe and P on soil fertility and quality will be investigated, prerequisites for achieving soil amelioration will be outlined, guidelines and protocols for agricultural applications will be developed.


D1.1 (due month 30, lead GEOS, confidential): Novel granular materials and characterization of their properties – Report on the development of the novel granular materials and the characterization of their properties

D1.2 (due month 36, GEOS, public): Design of P-TRAP system and operating instructions – Technical paper on the application of novel granular materials for removing dissolved P from water streams

D1.3 (due month 40, lead Deltares, public): Guidelines and recommendations for retaining and recovering Fe-bound P in drainage systems – Report on guidelines and recommendations for retaining and recovering Fe-bound P in drainage systems

D1.4 (due month 40, lead UNIMAN, public): Compendium on possible pathways to convert P-containing Fe(III) oxides into vivianite – Report or scientific publication on microbially induced production of vivianite from P-containing Fe(III) oxides

D1.5 (due month 42, lead US, public): Guidelines and instructions for the application of Fe and P containing solids for soil amelioration – Report on guidelines and instructions for the application of Fe and P containing solids for soil amelioration


MS4 (due month 9, lead US): Selection of relevant soil types – Relevant soil types for which the effect of adding P containing Fe phases will be tested have been identified (report)

MS5 (due month 9, lead KU Leuven): Protocol solid characterization 7 – A procedure for standard characterization of Fe and P phases in soils and sediments to be shared by all partners has been established (report)

MS7 (due month 12, lead GEOS): Specification of sorbents – The required specification of novel granular materials to trap P in drainage systems has been delineated (report)

MS8 (due month 12, lead Deltares): Sites selected for drainage systems – In collaboration with the POs suitable sites in drained areas are selected for testing new technologies for retaining Fe bound P (report)

MS9 (due month 12, lead UBT): Specification of quantitative models – A framework has been designed which defines the involved processes, the required temporal and spatial resolution of the models (report)

MS10 (due month 18, lead UNIMAN): Targets microbial conversion – The targets for the microbial conversion of P-containing Fe(III)oxides in terms of expected characteristics of the input material and the expected product (report)

MS11 (due month 18, lead GEOS): Proof of principle of P-TRAP systems – The requisites of the P-TRAP system to retain dissolved P in drainage system have been specified and constrain the design of the system (report)

MS13 (due month 24, lead GEOS): Implementation plan P-TRAP system – A detailed plan to implement the P-TRAP system in a drained area has been made (report)

MS15 (due month 24, lead US): Implementation plan soil fertilizers – A plan to demonstrate the suitability of Fe-containing phases as soil fertilizers or conditioners has been established (report)

Preliminary results

1st reporting period

A summary of the preliminary results of the first year will be available soon.