Achieving a 20-fold Boost in Concentration of Main Fertilizer Components at Japan’s First Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer Facilities
Commercializing the Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer Manufacturing Process for Sustainable and Efficient Circulative Agriculture

June 28, 2023

The Mitsubishi Chemical Group hereby announces that Mitsubishi Chemical Aqua Solutions Co., Ltd. (MCAS) will commercialize the bio-concentrated liquid fertilizer manufacturing process following the completion of a joint research project implemented by MCAS with partners including Kyushu University and Chikujo Town, etc. with the support of the Fukuoka Research Commercialization Center for Recycling Systems (FRC). The results of this industry-academia-government collaboration will be presented at EcoTechno 2023 to be held in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture on July 6, 2023.

Chikujo Town in Fukuoka Prefecture has been striving to foster circulative agriculture by recycling human waste and septic tank sludge into liquid fertilizer, and the fertilizer thus produced has already been used for the cultivation of paddy rice, wheat and barley. The waste would otherwise be treated and then discharged into rivers and other waterways. Recycling such waste into liquid fertilizer helps reduce wastewater treatment costs while also contributing to the circulative use of resources.

In the project implemented with the support of the FRC, the project team members worked to improve the concentration technology at Japan’s first liquid fertilizer concentration facilities, which were constructed by Chikujo Town within the Town’s organic liquid fertilizer manufacturing facilities.

By using the membrane separation method to remove suspended matter and conducting electrodialysis, the project team members succeeded in concentrating the main components of the fertilizer, specifically nitrogen and potassium, at a rate that is around 20 times greater than that of ordinary liquid fertilizer. Farmers can dilute this concentrated liquid fertilizer at a rate suitable for their agricultural products, and it has been confirmed that the performance of the fertilizer is on par with that of chemical fertilizers in terms of its effect in promoting plant growth. Moreover, the concentrated fertilizer will contribute to reducing fertilizer transportation costs and storage space needs and can be used not only at large farms that grow rice, wheat and barley but also at horticultural facilities and in household vegetable gardens.

MCAS, as the lead researcher of the project that was implemented with the support of the FRC, designed the facilities, measured their performance and verified the business feasibility. For the concentration process, it adopted the Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s hollow fiber membrane element. Going forward, based on the achievements made through the project, MCAS will also provide other local governments and businesses with solutions for their liquid fertilizer manufacturing processes, thereby promoting circulative agriculture and contributing to the creation of a sustainable society.

■About the bio-concentrated liquid fiber manufacturing process commercialization project implemented with the support of the Fukuoka Research Commercialization Center for Recycling Systems (FRC).
Under the project, efforts were made to commercialize the process used to manufacture Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer for agricultural use by concentrating liquid fertilizer made from human waste and septic tank sludge. Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer represents a technology that contributes to achieving the 2050 targets, such as the reduced use of chemical fertilizers, set in the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, MIDORI (formulated in May 2021). Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer is intended to help foster circulative agriculture.
Research period: April 2020 to February 2023 (Three years)
Members: MCAS (Lead researcher), Kyushu University, the University of Shizuoka, Chikujo Town (Fukuoka Prefecture) and Miyama City (Fukuoka Prefecture)
Research location: Chikujo Town, Fukuoka Prefecture
■ About Mitsubishi Chemical Aqua Solutions Co., Ltd. (MCAS)
Based on its advanced technologies and long-established expertise, MCAS proposes optimal wastewater treatment systems to customers across various industries according to wastewater type and composition. MCAS offers a range of technological solutions, including those for the treatment of sewage and garbage leachate (for governments), treatment of industrial wastewater (for the food, chemical and livestock industries) and for the treatment of persistent COD components, thereby contributing to sustainability efforts.

Japan’s first liquid fertilizer concentration facilities, built by Chikujo Town (in Chikujo Town, Fukuoka Prefecture)

Ordinary liquid fertilizer (left) and Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer (right)
Bio-Concentrated Liquid Fertilizer has greater transparency due to the removal of suspended matter. Thanks to electrodialysis, it also contains a high concentration of its main fertilizer components.

Hollow fiber membrane element made by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

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