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Project info

Project title: Sludge management via energy crops’ production

Project leader: Prof. Neven Voća, Ph.D.; University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia (e-mail:nvoca@agr.hr)

Financed by: Croatian Science Foundation [http://www.hrzz.hr]

Project duration: 01.11.2018. – 31.10.2022.

Summary

European Union priority policy is a feasible utilization of sludge from wastewater treatment plant in the agricultural sector, while avoiding its incineration. Sludge disposal in agricultural sector is defined by strict regulations and directives which do not distinguish its utilization in food or non-food production.

There is a great potential for improvement in terms of efficient sludge application to the soil, in larger quantities, without any danger or possible breaking of harmful substances into the environment. Regulations on the sludge application in agricultural production in Croatia is regulated by the amount of up to 1.66 t of sludge DM/year per ha of arable land, regardless of the type of agricultural production. However, despite these limitations, through the use of energy crops there is a possibility of plentiful sludge use as a fertilizer.

According to estimations, arable land will be greatly reduced in terms of intensive sludge management in agriculture in this way. Ideally, the use of sludge would fit right in production of energy crops, which would be exempt from the problems with the health reputation of the product.

In fact, in the agricultural production of crops used for food production, when during the cultivation is used manure obtained from sludge after wastewater treatment plant, the biggest problem is recognized in the segment of acceptance of such products on the market. The market is distrustful of such a product from the perspective of health and environmental safety.

Furthermore, this method could be used in lower quality soils and unfavourable climatic conditions that cannot compete with conventional food production. From the aspect of energy planning, biomass is the optimal form of the renewable energy sources as the source of almost all useful forms of energy. Consequently, sterile grass Miscanthus x giganteus and Mallow family plant Sida hermaphrodita are imposed as an ideal energy crops.

The aim of this research is the analysis of energy crops Miscanthus and Sida hermaphrodita biomass, fertilized with various quantities of sludge from the wastewater treatment plant. Also, major challenge in energy crops growing lies in proper selection of the harvesting date, as well as in choosing the optimal biofuel production pathway.

Discovery of the optimal harvest period is a compromise between yield, the quality of biomass, or the direction of its processing in different biofuel or useful energy, which is very often mutually exclusive.

Team

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Project leader:

Prof. Neven Voća, Ph.D.
Project role: Project leader
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3698
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Collaborators:

Working group for implementation of the objective (1) “Physical-chemical properties Characterization of the soil and sludge from wastewater treatment as a fertilizer”

Prof. Milan Poljak, Ph.D.
Project role: Designing of fertilization experiment, monitoring and discussing the results of using sludge in agriculture.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Nutrition, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3861
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Ass. prof. Tomislav Karažija, Ph.D.
Project role: Designing of fertilisation experiment, analyse the influence of introducing sludge in agricultural production from the environmental point of view.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Nutrition, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3982
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Working group for iImplementation of the objective (2) “Determining the influence of sludge fertilization on the adoption and phyto-accumulation of nutrients, heavy metals, growth and yield of energy crops biomass”

Prof. Josip Leto, Ph.D.
Project role: design and carry out the experimental cultivation of miscanthus and sida in two locations, including division and marking the experiment according to the experiment plan, miscanthus fertilisation with sludge by experiment plan, determining dry matter yield in different harvest times, determining plant height and number of sprouts per unit of surface at the end of each vegetation season, drying and grinding samples for further chemical analysis.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Field Crops, Forage and Grassland, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 4079
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Ass. prof. Hrvoje Kutnjak, Ph.D.
Project role: Establish and monitor field experiment and optimise the miscanthus and sida cultivation by determining dry matter yield in different harvest times, determining height of plants and number of sprouts per unit of surface at the end of each vegetation season; statistical processing of the results obtained from this field experiment.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Field Crops, Forage and Grassland, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3782
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Ass. prof. Nikola Bilandžija, Ph.D.
Project role: Optimisation of agro technical measures and field analysis and calculation of dry matter yield by different harvest times.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3715
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Working group for implementation of the objective (3) “Determining the energy properties of the investigated biomass”

Prof. dr. sc. Tajana Krička, Ph.D.
Project role: Establishment and analysis of miscanthus and sida energy results.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3818
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Ass. prof. Vanja Jurišić, Ph.D.
Project role: Elemental composition analysis of the investigated biomass, analysis of structural, physical-chemical and fuel properties, and micro- and macro elements, analyses required for inter-laboratory comparison (BIMEP WEPAL programme).
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3619
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Ass. prof. Ana Matin, Ph.D.
Project role: Biomass samples preparing for further analysis and acquisition of necessary ancillary materials.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3625
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Mateja Grubor, mag.ing.agr
Project role: Search the literature and prepare analytical methods for analysis of biomass from the experimental fields for production of different forms of biofuel, which includes preparation and analysis of the biomass, specifically its elemental composition (CHNS), structural, physical-chemical and fuel properties, micro- and macro elements, analyses needed for inter-laboratory comparison (BIMEP WEPAL programme), activities needed for determining the biofuel optimal production potential and interpretation of the results, determining energy characteristics and the analysis of biomass for the needs of biofuel production.
Institution: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385 / 1 / 239 3625
More information

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Contact

Professor Neven Voća, PhD

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Technology Storing and Transport, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

+385 / 1 / 239 3698

nvoca@agr.hr

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