Hydroponic Nutrient Recovery Systems – HUNS
Green Lab is a UK agricultural innovator and research organisation that has developed a unique hydroponic growing technology that uses human organic waste as a source of nutrients for growing leafy greens and vegetables. We are building prototypes in Andalusia as part of a UK Innovate funded grant to demonstrate how this unique technology works, and assess whether there is a demand from smallholder farmers, residents and local communities for such a growing technology in rural parts of Andalusia.
The project will run for 3 months from 5th January 2022 through to March 31st and we will be demonstrating how these hydroponics systems work, showcasing the methods and hosting two workshops for commercial farmers and local communities to understand how this innovation in hydroponics can be used to reduce the cost of fertiliser to grow edible leafy greens and other plants.
The project is based in Moclinejo at a local farm with easy access via the main roads from Malaga, Velez and Rincón de la Victoria. For more information about the project or register your interest to attend a workshop email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is this important?
Fertiliser is a core part of food systems, depletes mineral resources, is energy-intensive, and is used linearly; changing the way we develop future nutrient and fertiliser production is critical to maintaining an ecological balance of nature and protecting the planet’s scarce resources.
The project aims to create synergy between the innovations developed by Green Lab using urine digestate and the need for European (Spanish) farmers to adopt and develop new ways of growing crops using naturally occurring minerals and new innovative ways of recovering and developing fertilisers. Urine, digestate(compost), and is an excellent source for fertiliser, if mined could create a closed-loop approach to fertiliser, making the food system more sustainable, resilient, and circular.
The project activities will demonstrate the benefits, processes, methods and physical results of using HUNS as methods to replace fertiliser in the farming of value crops.
Spain is one of the largest growers using hydroponics in Europe with a dependency on resource attentive production of nutrients from natural and synthetic sources.
How does it work?
The hydroponic system uses human urine as a source of nutrients filtered through a hydroponic system to provide nutrients to the roots of leafy green plants. The hydroponic system is an innovative biochar media and flow system to mitigate any pathogen risk, reduce the retention time of urine, but also enhance the growth of the food crop.
Benefits of using the hydroponics technology
• reduces the volume of water used in sanitary environments
• creates a circular and sustainable model for leveraging organic waste
• demonstrates the use of a hydroponic system in a scalable application (toilet)
Legal & regulatory, marketing and business development
Operations, finance and horticulture
Dr. Dominic Clyde-Smith
Contact the project team