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Organic fertilizers and chemical fertilizers

Solugen’s organic ammoniacal nitrogen.


Fertilizers are organic or mineral fertilizing substances. Most of the time they are used in the form of multi-element complexes and are intended to provide plants with nutrients to improve their growth and increase the yield and quality of crops. They have been used since antiquity, all over the world and in many different forms.

What are they composed of?

– We distinguish the basic elements, or macronutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K).

It is called ternary fertilizer if it is composed of all three elements, binary fertilizer when two basic elements are combined, and simple fertilizer when only one element is present.   For example, liquid ammoniacal nitrogen from the treatment of slurry with Solugen technology is a simple fertilizer.

– Secondary elements, calcium (Ca), sulphur (S), magnesium (Mg) ;

– And trace elements such as zinc or manganese for example, and many others.

The fertilizing contributions are expressed in N, P, K and applied in the following forms:

– Nitrogen input in the form of nitrate NO3-, ammonium NH4+ or urea CO(NH2)

– Phosphorus in the form of calcium phosphate or ammonium phosphate.

– Potassium in the form of potassium chloride, potassium nitrate and potassium sulphate.

The different types of fertilizers Chemical fertilizers – organic fertilizers

Mineral or also called chemical fertilizers

A chemical fertilizer is defined as a partially synthetic, total inorganic material, resulting from a chemical process, which is added to the soil for fertilizing purposes. These fertilizers are composed of substances of mineral origin, produced by the chemical industry, or by the exploitation of natural deposits of phosphate and potash. The main fertilizer produced by the chemical industry is nitrogen. The world production of nitrogen amounts to 150 million tons per year, or about 4,800 kilograms produced per second. Nitrogen accounts for 60% of fertilizer consumption worldwide, followed by phosphate (25%) and potassium (15%).

Based on current trends, it is estimated that global nitrogen use in crops will double to 220 million tons by 2050. One of the main drawbacks of chemical fertilizers is that, unlike organic fertilizers, some chemical fertilizers have high acid content such as sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid. In addition, the fertilizer industry generates an increasing amount of greenhouse gases.

Fertilizers: effects on the environment

In intensive agriculture the main consequences of the massive use of fertilizers are :

– Greenhouse gases, by emission of nitrous oxide (N2O). In Quebec, in 2010, emissions from agriculture accounted for nearly 8% of total GHG emissions, or 6.6 Mt CO2 eq. in 2010 (MDDEFP, 2013). A significant portion of these emissions is attributable to the consumption of nitrogen fertilizers of chemical origin. The GHG generated during the manufacturing of these chemical fertilizers are not taken into account in this calculation.

– Eutrophication of watercourses when fertilizers, organic or mineral, spread in excess of the needs of plants and the retention capacity of the soil, are dragged to the water tables by infiltration, or to the watersheds by runoff.

Organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are fertilizers derived from animal material, animal excrement (manure, slurry, guano), plant material (e.g. compost or crop residues), or mineral origin by extraction provided they are not processed. Some are derived from plant waste: green residues, composted or not, and they can also be made up of plants specially cultivated as green manure (to produce nettle manure for example), or seaweed products.

As agricultural inputs, they are subject to specific standards. In Canada they are governed by the standards: CAN/CGSB-32.310-2015.

They are presented in a raw form:

– Slurry

– Manure

– Unprocessed minerals from mining extraction

– Frass

– Plant manure

Or resulting from a manufacturing process and packaged in various forms:

– Flours (feather, blood, shellfish, bones, etc.)

– Granules

– Composts

– Liquid compounds

These organic fertilizers have different concentrations depending on the case. They are applied as N.P.K. complex, or individually (a single fertilizing element).  Generally less concentrated than synthetic fertilizers, especially in nitrogen, they are generally more expensive.

They are particularly appreciated by organic agriculture, which in North America and Europe is experiencing significant growth. In Quebec, the sale of organic fertilizers represents some $300 (CAD) million each year (Source: Statistics Canada).

At the beginning of 2019, 93 countries worldwide had adopted regulations for organic agriculture. The global organic market is estimated to be close to $144 billion (CAD) in 2017 and to exceed $155 billion (CAD) in 2018. The global area under organic cultivation is estimated at nearly 70 million hectares by the end of 2017. It represented 1.4% of the total agricultural land of the countries surveyed. Nearly 2.9 million certified organic farms were registered in 2017.

Ammoniacal nitrogen from Solugen

In organic agriculture, organic nitrogen is the most difficult element to produce, and one of the most expensive. The majority of nitrogen fertilizers are in complex form and not in a simple form (nitrogen only). Moreover, with few exceptions, concentration rates rarely exceed 5%.


Solugen’s process for treating manure, in addition to the environmental and economic benefits it provides, produces an organic ammoniacal nitrogen solution that is fully in line with the expectations of organic farming and in perfect harmony with the principles of a circular economy. To be continued.















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