Nutrient recovery from agricultural waters

The NuReDrain project is a research programme on filtration systems for nutrient recovery from agricultural waters.

Partners involved


Aarhus UniversityCopenhagen UniversityUniversity of LeuvenGhent University,VITOVlakwaRostock UniversityInagroPC SierteeltDe WatergroepLandwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen
Oldenburgischer Ostfriesischer Wasserverband



The North Sea region is recognized as an intensive farming area. Nutrient inputs from land have resulted in eutrophication in rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal zones. This shared territorial challenge will be combined with efficient use of the resource phosphorus. Current regulatory practices coupled to mitigation measures to reduce nutrient losses are considered insufficient to reduce nutrient losses down to biological threshold values in the foreseeable future. This project proposes a shift of paradigm and aims at developing a technology for trapping phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in agricultural waste streams such as drainage discharges and greenhouse effluents. The effectiveness of P and N removal of many of these technologies has been proven on lab- and small pilot scale. However, most of the research has been focusing on either P or N removal, so the combination of a N removal technology and a P filter technology has been rarely demonstrated. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to stimulate the exchange of knowledge, jointly develop cost-effective filter technologies targeting nutrients removal for different situations and regions, reuse the recovered P for agricultural purposes and eventually work out implementation guidelines for the North Sea Region. In this way the main source of diffuse nutrient losses can be mitigated in high-risk areas. Eventually this will contribute to the long-term sustainable management of North Sea aquatic ecosystems.