Project Life LIBERNITRATE aims to reduce the concentration of nitrates in the water cycle through an integrated innovative, cost-efficient and highly transferrable technology. This project is needed due to the excessive use of nitrates in European agriculture. For example, in Europe, 87% of groundwater contains excess nitrates (European Environment Agency). In intensive farming and cattle-rearing areas, nitrate concentration in groundwater can reach up to seven times the legal limit. The number of areas vulnerable to this pollution has increased, especially in Romania, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Germany and the UK.
The solution that this project proposes will be to create an absorption bed made of active silica, obtained from waste ashes generated during the controlled incineration of rice straw. This bed will clear the water of excess nitrates. Other objective of this project besides the development of the bed will be to implement a comprehensive awareness-raising procedure for farmers to promote the reduction of nitrates at source and to develop a study to assess the project’s environmental, social and economic impact.
The expected results of the project are as follows: direct purification of at least 26 m3/day of well water with a prototype that can be transferred to municipalities of 200 inhabitants or fewer as well as a 30% reduction 130 litres/day of water effluent. Moreover, a guide for farmers on how to reduce nitrates in their fertilizer and a business plan on how to replicate and transfer the project will be created.