Sustainable food security - Nutri2Cycle










NUTRI2CYCLE is a European Commission funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme, aiming to establish an integrated approach to enable the transition from the current (suboptimal) nutrient household in European agriculture to the next-generation of agronomic practices, characterized by an improved upcycling of nutrients and organic carbon. The project is coordinated by Dr. Evi Michels and Prof. Erik Meers (Ghent University, Belgium).  This project brings together leading experts in the field of nutrient cycling from 19 partners in 12 countries, and will run from October 2018 till September 2022.


Project description

The NUTRI2CYCLE project recognizes Europe’s need to tackle the current nutrient flow gaps in European agro-ecosystems in order to decrease environmental pollution, safeguard the quality of life and improve EU independence for energy and nutrients. NUTRI2CYCLE addresses these needs by benchmarking the current N, P and C flows as a starting point to re-design (using scenario-analysis) and test new business models in nutrient management to mitigate emissions. These will be based on a combination of technological advances and their implementation will have diverse impacts on the economy, environment and society at large.
This transdisciplinary project will encompass the entire value chain and will engage all actors along the chain via an interactive stakeholder framework (including Operational Groups, via the AGRI-European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) activities). The NUTRI2CYCLE project will align with a number of relevant EU environmental policy positions to provide scientific support on which regulatory framework will effectively support mitigation solutions and will help to increase independence and self-reliance of Europe for food, energy and nutrients in the next century.
The project is deeply rooted in previous national and European projects, in which the consortium members were actively involved. The underlying principle is that Nutrient Use Efficiency can be significantly improved by integrating on-farm techniques and systems that allow better reconnection between (i) animal husbandry provided flows and (ii) plant production requirements. At the same time this reconnection itself will serve a better C-return to soil and GHG-reduction by avoided emissions optionally combined with energy production for self-consumption on-farm.
NUTRI2CYCLE brings together the extensive expertise of leading experts in the field of nutrient cycling. This collaboration originates from the EIP-Focus Group on Nutrient Recycling, closely interacting with the EIP Operational Groups in the individual EU member states. Better nutrient stewardship engaging all actors across the value chain as envisaged in NUTRI2CYCLE will increase the C, N and P recycling rate significantly and will improve the overall sustainability and innovation capacity of European agricultural systems.


The overall project ambition of NUTRI2CYCLE is establish more C-, N- and P-efficient agro ecosystems by introducing effective combinations of existing technologies and high-potential innovations in nutrient recycling technologies, thus improving the sustainability of European farm systems, reducing negative impacts on water, air, climate and soil quality. The main goals are:
•    Benchmark mass flows of nutrients, organic carbon and GHG-footprint.
•    Provide an assessment frame (toolbox) for evaluating potential impact of proposed innovations.
•    Actively support and optimise concepts, techniques and scenarios put forward in EIP-Operational Groups.
•    Showcase the most promising developments via prototypes and demos.
•    Elaborate strategic scenarios to identify the effect of these innovations at European scale.

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is Project Coordinator and WP-leader of WP 7 (Communication) and WP 8 (General management). UGent also serves as centralized hub and hosting institute setting up joint PhDs and postdocs with other participating institutes in the various defined research lines within this project.





Prof. Erik Meers
Department of Green Chemistry & Technology, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Ecochemistry (Ecochem)
Phone number: +32 478 78 60 98

Dr. Evi Michels
Department of Green Chemistry & Technology, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Ecochemistry (Ecochem)