Healthy soil is the bedrock of successful farming, playing a pivotal role in nurturing crops, supporting livestock, and maintaining ecological balance. However, the traditional methods of fertilisation, including the use of synthetic fertilisers, bring their own set of challenges, posing threats to water sources and the environment. In this blog, we delve into the transformative solution offered by H2OPE technology — the process that produces a natural fertiliser through harnessing the benefits of agricultural slurry and digestate whilst addressing pressing environmental concerns.
The challenge of conventional fertilisers
As farmers strive to optimise their yield, the conventional use of slurry and synthetic fertilisers presents a double-edged sword. While slurry is rich in nutrients, its application can contaminate water sources, especially during heavy rainfall. Synthetic fertilisers, on the other hand, exacerbate environmental threats. Enter H2OPE, a cutting-edge technology designed to turn this challenge into an opportunity for sustainable agriculture.
H2OPE Technology: A game-changer in the field
H2OPE technology capitalises on the abundance of nutrients found in agricultural slurry and digestate, extracting volatile contaminants to produce a natural fertiliser and growth media. This ground-breaking method not only enhances crop growth but also makes substantial progress in curbing carbon emissions linked to waste management, achieving a reduction of up to 73%. Moreover, the solution effectively addresses pollution control by safeguarding waterways from diffuse pollution and mitigating the risk of over-nutrification of land, thereby eliminating biosecurity concerns.
Growth trials unveil significant potential
To validate the effectiveness of H2OPE, a comprehensive lab-scale trial was conducted at SEM’s laboratory premises. Using inputs such as slurry and digestate, various pelletised fertilisers were created for the purpose of undertaking a pea pot growth trial which was conducted over a 9 month period.
The experimental growth study employed soil, with a pH of 7.34, sourced from an area without recent cultivation and void of any history of fertiliser or pesticide use within the past five years. UV lights were used with a timed schedule to simulate typical daylight hours and to heat the plants to a temperature range of 15 – 20 degrees. Deionized water was also used for irrigation to prevent the introduction of additional minerals into the soil.
A baseline of 1.5g of each fertiliser treatment, including a synthetic fertiliser for comparative measures, was applied at a rate of 15% and 30% for comparative measures across a number of pots. The trial meticulously examined both chemical and physical parameters, including Total Nitrogen (TN), Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Phosphate (P), Potassium (K), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn) and Lead (Pb) to gauge the efficacy of the H2OPE fertilisers. From soil conductivity, pH levels, and nutritional content to plant growth and productivity, a detailed analysis provided insights into the entire growth process.
H2OPE triumph: Redefining Agricultures future
The results of the trial spoke volumes about the success of the pelletised H2OPE fertilisers. Pea plants thrived in the experimental soil treatments, with a notable speed difference in the slurry pellets, emerging as the fastest-growing treatment. The AD pellets however, offered sustained growth and visibly taller plants over time. Despite the varying fertilisers used, there was no significant difference in the overall physical production of peas, underscoring the versatility and reliability of H2OPE technology.
As we navigate the challenges of modern agriculture, H2OPE stands out as a symbol of sustainable innovation. Its ability to transform agricultural by-products into a valuable resource not only bolsters crop growth but also addresses environmental concerns. The promising results of the growth trials hint at a future where H2OPE technology plays a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of agriculture towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.