The world food supply is entirely dependent on the use of fertilisers. However, the current fertiliser production practices are not sustainable. Phosphate rock is a non-renewable resource, whereas the nitrogen-based fertilisers production is highly energy-intensive, currently relying on the use of fossil fuels. Domestic wastewater is an important nutrient carrier, but currently not exploited as recovery from diluted sewage is not efficient.

Run4Life, short for “Recovery and Utilization of Nutrients 4 Low Impact FErtiliser”, proposes a radical new concept for wastewater treatment and nutrient recovery. It is based on source-separated collection of domestic wastewaters and kitchen waste, with each flow receiving optimal treatment for resource recovery and subsequent safe reuse. Nutrient recycling from wastewater opens a new paradigm in society. Therefore active measures such as knowledge brokerage activities will be developed as engagement strategy to advocate the institutional, legal and social acceptance of Run4Life nutrient recovery technologies.

The Run4Life project works towards the following results:

  • Decrease dependence on primary nutrient resources and increase European resource security.
  • Reduce the adverse effects of nutrient emissions on the environment.
  • Closing water and nutrient cycles throughout the production and consumption value chain.
  • Improve the quality of collected data on nutrient flows to support investments in the recycling of recovered nutrients.
  • Create new business opportunities in the EU, to generate new green jobs and export industries around the recovery and recycling of nutrients, contributing to the exploitation of innovative solutions in the global market.
  • Improve policy and market conditions in Europe for large-scale deployment of innovation, providing evidence-based knowledge on the framework conditions that facilitates a wider transition to a Circular Economy in the EU.

Proven and innovative technologies are implemented and further developed at four large scale demonstration sites. Within the objectives of the project, it is essential to ensure that the treatment systems developed by Run4Life, as well as the products obtained, are safe and of a consistent quality, environmentally friendly, socially accepted and techno-economically viable.