Biorewit - New soil improvement products for reducing the pollution of soils and waters and revitalizing the soil system

LIFE10 ENV/PL/000661

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Contact details:

Contact person: Stanisław KANISZEWSKI
Tel: +48 46 8332875
Fax: +48 46 8332876

Project description:


The excessive application of mineral fertilisers and pesticides results in the degradation of soils. Agriculture intensification also causes an overall decrease in soil fertility. The intensive cultivation of crops often uses ‘soil-less’ methods, which call for higher doses of fertilisers than in-field production. For example, in greenhouse tomato production the dosage of nitrogen fertilisers can be as high as 3 000 kg N/ha; whereas the in-field production usage is around 150 kg N/ha. After the production cycle, subsoil and soil-less substrates are often disposed of by inappropriate methods. This poses a significant pollution risk for soils, groundwater and the natural environment. In the EU, nearly 500 000 m3/year of subsoil is disposed of in landfill sites. Therefore, reducing the amount of subsoil disposed of in this way is an important environmental protection priority.


The main goal of the BIOREWIT project was to develop innovative technologies for new soil improvers and soil-less substrates for greenhouse cultivation. The project aimed to utilise natural fibrous wastes (e.g. straw, sawdust, wool, cotton) for the production of soil improvers and biodegradable soil-less substrates; apply new fibrous soil bio-activators in the cultivation of vegetables on demonstration plots and on experimental fields; and research soil-less cultivation of tomato and cucumbers using new fibrous substrates in greenhouses and plastic tunnels


The Biorewit project constructed and demonstrated a prototype plant for the production of soil eco-activators, soil-less substrates, and subsoils from textile and agricultural waste (e.g. wood waste, straw, dry biomass). This was used to produce a range of agricultural products.

The prototype plant is made up of a series of sub-plants: 1. Grinder for producing different eco-activators: fine-grained (dusty) fraction for pellets, middle-sized fraction (up to 15 mm) as an agent in agro-nonwovens, and a fraction with long fibres (more than 15 mm) for soilless and biodegradable substrates; 2. Installation for impregnation: enables impregnation of fractions of the basic substrate for direct use as a non-consolidated fertiliser or as a raw material for producing eco-activators; 3. Installation for esterification: consisting of a mixing container using dosages of acid and base agents for the chemical synthesis of esters (chemical compounds); 4. Mechanical consolidation (two lines): The first line is used for producing biodegradable agro-nonwovens and soil-less substrates, and the second for producing pellets as organic fertilisers; 5. Subsoil robot: a component that automatically aggregates the material to produce soil-less biodegradable substrates; and 6. Installation for processing waste organic subsoils.

All the above parts of the prototype plant were upgraded and tested during the project implementation, making them ready for commercial use. The plant is very flexible: it could operate as one technology line, but it is possible to use only selected elements. The prototype can also be adjusted to the needs of different potential users. For example, a greenhouse owner could use it for impregnation, utilising greenhouse effluent, dry biomass or waste subsoils, to produce in-house eco-activators. The project’s prototype was used to produce around 2 000 pieces of soil-less substrates, more than 5 000 m of bio-nonwovens, and more than 5 Mg of eco-activators. It was used to produce the following agriculture products: Ekofert K (organic fertiliser produced from dried biomass of red clover); Ekofert L (fertiliser produced from dried lucerne); Covelana K and Covelana L (biodegradable N-enriched organic bio-nonwovens); Biopot (a subsoil made using sheep wool waste and lignite); AgroFert D and AgroFert W (mineral-organic soil improvers); and FertiVeg (biodegradable substrates from greenhouse production). The beneficiaries obtained a certificate stating that selected products (Ekofert, Covalena, Biopot) were cleared for use in agricultural production and could be sold on the EU market. Two of the products have been patented in Poland: Biopot and Covelana.

The use of new eco-activators in greenhouse agricultural production enabled significant reductions to be made in the amount of nutrients discharged into groundwater, and increased water capacity of soils (by approximately 30%). At farm level, the new eco-activators will reduce the risk of over-fertilising crops with nitrogen. The use of organic bio-nonwovens increased the organic nitrogen content of soils. As planned, the project contributed to reductions in textile waste and mineral fertilisers used in agricultural production. However, the overall potential in reducing the amount of textile waste will depend on the way in which the innovative installations (and products produced by them) are developed in the following years.

The project successfully demonstrated the production of agricultural products from textile waste, such as the use of wool waste to produce subsoils that positively influenced vegetable production. Its results contribute to the implementation of EU policy in several areas, such as water management, climate change mitigation, and the circular economy. For instance, the new eco-activators enable significant reductions in the amount of nutrients discharged into groundwater, so reducing the risk of water contamination and eutrophication. The use of organic bio-nonwovens increased the content of organic carbon in soils, enhancing their role as carbon sinks. Additional socio-economic benefits of the project’s approach could arise from job creation and agricultural diversification to provide additional income in rural areas.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Waste - Waste recycling


soil degradation‚  waste recycling‚  fertiliser‚  agricultural method

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 91/676 - Protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural so ...
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Instytut Warzywnictwa im. Emila Chroboczka w Skierniewicach
Type of organisation Research institution
Description Poland's Research Institute of Vegetable Crops (RIVC) specialises in the development of scientific and practical production of vegetable crops. Founded in 1964, most of its work is focused on priority areas of agricultural research, as defined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Partners Institute for Sustainable Technologies - National Research Institute (ITeE-PIB), Poland


Project reference LIFE10 ENV/PL/000661
Duration 01-JAN-2012 to 30-NOV -2015
Total budget 1,863,195.00 €
EU contribution 926,597.00 €
Project location Lodzkie(Poland Polska)


Read more:

Poster "Zanieczyszczenie wód gruntowych odciekami nawozow ...
Poster ",,Nowe środki ulepszania gleby do redukcji zaniec ...
Poster "Nowe srodki ulepszania gleby do redukcji zanieczy ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Proceedings "Rewitalizacja systemu glebowego w aspekcie ochron ...
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Slides Presentation "Effectiveness of new plant-based fertilizer and o ...
Slides Presentation "Nowe środki ulepszania gleby do redukcji zanieczy ...
Slides Presentation "Nowe środki ulepszania gleby do redukcji zanieczy ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version