Closed Loop Farming: Nutrient Recovery Systems

Green Lab was awarded an Innovate UK Global Feasbility Grant in January 2022 to assess the commercial and market viability of our urine nutrient mining hydroponic technology for a rural Andalusian farming commumunity.

As a UK agricultural innovator and research organisation we had he opportunity to pilot a unique hydroponic growing technology that used human organic waste as a source of nutrient for growing leafy greens and vegetables. The project ran for 3 months at our offgrid farm research centre in Andalusia, assessing our technology in a rural context with smallholder farmers, academics and local municipalities.

Urine is an excellent source for fertiliser, and when mined creates a closed-loop approach to fertiliser production, making food systems more sustainable and circular; 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.

Green Lab created a synergy between innovation in mining urine digestate and the need for European (Spanish) farmers to adopt new ways of growing crops using new methods of producing and developing fertilisers. The project culminated in two multi-lingual workshops to demonstrating our nutrient mining technology applied to a working toilet; our hydroponic bioremediation technology filtered nutrients for a green wall of lettuce, chard and coir grown tomato plants.

This was a significant milestone for the Green Lab project team establishing a collaboration agreement with IBYDA; whilst honoured to have hosted the Malaga community of notable representatives during the workshops:

  • The President of the Malaga Provincial Council, Francisco Salado
  • Deputy for the Environment, Cristóbal Ortega
  • Mayor of Moclinejo, José Luis González
  • Councilor for the Environment in Moclinejo, Francisco J Carrillo
  • Dr Félix López Director and technicians (IBYDA) Institute of Biotechnology and Desarrollo Azul
  • Union of Small Farmers, UPA
  • Center for Rural Development, CEDER

Green Lab completed the project in March 2022 with a design plan to develop a permanent installation at the IBYDA institute in Malaga and develop a set of open-source resources for the hydroponic for early 2023 for use in developing countries.

Update: October 2022
Green Lab hosted a nutrient mining workshop during the Bali Fab Fest 2022 with attendees from Fiji, Bali, Malaysia, Cambodia, Java and Sulawesi; developing new opensource resources demonstrating the core principles of our nutrient mining innovation.