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Transfer of uk co-composting technology and expertise to hungary and its evaluation for use in agriculture

Joint venture to transfer/develop co-composting techniques/
expertise in hungary/other eastern european countries and
apply this technology to production of a valuable organic
product to improve over-exploited agricultural soils.

This EUREKA application relates to a proposed joint venture between industrial and academic partners in the South West of ENGLAND and the INNOVATION CENTRE at Szeged in Southern HUNGARY. The aim is to transfer and develop the U.K. technology and expertise of co-composting to HUNGARY and apply this to the production of an organic material - using a number of waste streams - to address the drastic decline in soil fertility in certain areas of HUNGARY; (this is recognised by the project team as being a major environmental problem). The proposal stems from a successful pilot scheme - previously funded through DTI (DEMOS) together with industrial and local authority partners - on the co-composting of municipal solid waste (MSW) and sewage sludge. Composting offers an environmentally friendly means of waste disposal leading to savings in landfill volume and to the production of a useful organic product which is of valueto the agricultural and horticultural industries. Preliminary results from a study at Seale-Hayle in 1992 emphasised the potential of the MSW/sludge-derived compost in agriculture, with a 50% increase in crop yield (using forage maize) relative to a mineral fertiliser control. The finding was a result of the combination of nutrient availability (particularly nitrogen) and soil amelioration (particularly soil moisture holding capacity). The product of composting is potentially valuable in crop production as a fertiliser replacement and as such, could form important input to Hungarian agriculture, particularly in the current economic and agricultural climate - and the move towards more integrated Crop Management Systems. Furthermore, compost products could have a major impact on soils of low organic matter - including reclamation sites and over-exploited agricultural land. It is estimated that the organic content of soils on the great plain of HUNGARY has declined by as much as 30% since 1945 (during the period of USSR control), this is the result of the over-exploitation of cereal land in particular, and also the very high use of mineral fertilisers. The decline has led to a reduction in productivity and soil stability leading to wind erosion. Furthermore, the situation in HUNGARY is symptomatic of a wider problem existing in the UKRAINE, RUSSIA, BULGARIA and ROMANIA. Therefore, with the above information in mind, a project is proposed to address the following: Objectives: 1. Assessment and demonstration - through R & D - of the agronomic value of applying co-compost material to agricultural land, particularly soils with low organic levels, to help sustain agricultural production and a decline in soil organic matter. 2. Reduction of the reliance on mineral fertilisers for the growing of food and forage crops. 3. Establishment of an environmentally friendly method for the disposal of putrescible waste(s) without incurring environmental pollution. 4. Establishment in HUNGARY of co-composting technology for the production of valuable organic material and its subsequent use on agricultural land. 5. Joint establishment of a demonstration unit for co-composting in HUNGARY, with the objective of using this facility for the dissemination of the technology to other Eastern European countries. Project Phases: Feasibility Phase: a) Explore the possibilities of transferring existing technology to HUNGARY b) Jointly carry out field trials in the U.K. and HUNGARY to establish protocols and procedures and in addition, cross-compare results. Definition Phase: Following the results of the feasibility phase, produce a project plan - with a defined programme. Implementation Phase: a) Develop an R & D strategy to further define the benefits of compost applied to soil. b) Implement the results of the feasibility phase to large scale growth trials. Full Exploitation: Create a joint venture co-composting capability in HUNGARY for provision of a platform for subsequent exploitation into Eastern Europe.
Acronym: 
TOUCH
Project ID: 
1 223
Start date: 
01-04-1994
Project Duration: 
16months
Project costs: 
50 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.