Elemental Digest (EDL) is a Devon born and based Agri-Food tech company and we specialise in nutrient recovery and fertiliser development. We use patented engineering and proprietary Intelligent Enzymatic Systems to add substantive value to waste stream products from the meat industry. We help customers (like farmers, amenity owners, horticulturists) improve their agricultural production and the quality of their products. We also help the food industry ensure transparency, quality and traceability, whilst materially increasing the availability of high-quality meat proteins (beef extract) and edible fats (beef dripping) for human consumption without increasing the animal husbandry footprint.
Healthy Food and a Healthy Environment
Soils directly underpin life on earth. They are the most complex biological system on the planet, both harbouring, sustaining and exhibiting enormous diversity both below and above ground.
Core to soil’s function is soil organic matter (SOM), a complex and diverse milieu of material that facilitates and complements a vast array of chemical, physical and biological functions.
We at EDL set out to create a product that efficiently returns organic matter as soluble carbon compounds via our organo-mineral fertiliser to soils (the ‘organo’ part) whilst also ensuring the delivery of macro and micro minerals essential to plant, animal and human health (the ‘mineral’ part).
Combining these elements into a homogenous, safe, (virtually no heavy metals and no biohazards) and easy-to-spread fertiliser in a form that soils and plants can use easily has taken many years of research. From our own considerable industry study, we are fairly sure that EDL is the first company in the world to do this by creating our product on-site and fully compliant with the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and EU regulations.
Our patent covering this technology is either granted or pending in over 60 countries and confirms that our process has unique elements that provide us with significant commercial and technical advantage.
This means you can invest in a leading-edge technology company that holds unique IP and produces tangible offtake products that have a direct impact on our ecology and food system.
Making the connection
Greater awareness, including of the state of soil and its potential effect on plant, animal and human health, is critical to the decisions people make when applying fertiliser. Research has found that farmers who are aware of environmental challenges are more willing to adopt solutions to those problems (Prokopy et al., 2008). The numbers of farmers and governments looking for scalable fertilisers to do this is increasing, as climate change risks are better understood and linked to healthy soils, yields and quality products.
This awareness leads to better care of the soil and drives corresponding potential benefits to human health, including the provision of adequate nutrients to produce nutritious crops, improved soil organic matter content and biology, reduced erosion by water and wind, fewer inputs of potentially hazardous chemicals and increased wealth.
At the government level, the recognition of the vital importance fertiliser and soils are to human life and security has also been reflected in the Circular Economy Action Plan. The ongoing desire to harmonise the EU market to allow innovative recycled products to enter the whole EU market perfectly fits our product outputs.
This is a most important change from the past: local alternatives involving low-Cadmium (Cd) Phosphate (P) sources stemming from recycled P are coming on stream and being used across the EU. These nutrient sources are commonly referred to in the EU as STRUBIAS and they can be used either directly as fertilizers or as ingredients in the fertilizer production process. The work delivered within this EU-driven project will contribute to making the recovery of nutrients, organic matter and phosphate from secondary raw materials a more attractive practice across Europe and fits our business model and growth plans perfectly.
“Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the circular economy”, as adopted by the European Commission1, has identified the Fertilisers Regulation revision as a key legislative proposal to boost the market for secondary raw materials. In addition, the revised Waste Framework Directive2 establishes ambitious targets for recycling, and our production methodology has been included in the draft agreements.
Our Thallo® fertiliser provides a safe source of P that can constitute an alternative for the primary raw material “phosphate rock”. Both phosphorus and phosphate rock have been identified by the European Commission as critical (high risk) raw materials, based on their supply risk, contamination issues and the economic importance for EU operators.
Accordingly, it is predicted that the market demand for, and trade in Thallo®, will significantly increase in the future alongside our expansion plans, by opening up a domestic resource pool that will decrease the dependence on phosphate rock as a critical material for the UK and the EU, for which the region is almost entirely dependent on imports.
This new and expanding market was developed in response to the debate about peak phosphate (it is a finite material and hence must be recycled more efficiently) and the need to close the phosphorus cycle (Elser and Bennett, 2011), stressing the replacement of non-renewable commodities with recovered waste products.
EDL’s Thallo® can be produced at substantial scale, with a typical site creating 400 metric tons a week, and 14 sites producing 280k metric tons a year in the UK alone, and globally the process could create enough organo-mineral fertiliser to meet over 25% of current annual global fertiliser use.
1. Thallo® will be a vastly improved substitute for Phosphate rock;
2. It is not mined in countries with political risk/has less carbon footprint/no cadmium/more positive soil nutrients/sustainable/does not have finite supply/EU endorsed etc.
3. Once scaled up, we can produce significant amounts of fertiliser.
- European Commission: EU fertilising products market = 20 – 25 bn.€ of which: 80% (18 bn.€) inorganic, and 6,5% (1,5 bn.€) organic and organo-mineral.
- Market surveys: EU organic fertilisers industry turnover = 2,5 bn.€ EU organic fertilisers market expected growth: 4,5% / year
- Global market expected growth: 12-13% / year