Milestone achieved: Launch of the first German research facility for the production of recycled fertiliser from dry toilet contents
Opening ceremony of the zirkulierBAR reallab in Eberswalde
Together with high-ranking supporters from federal, state and local politics as well as interested guests, the zirkulierBAR reallab with humus shelf and urine treatment plant was opened in Eberswalde on the grounds of the Kreiswerke Barnim on Monday 16 October. The completion of the reallab is an important milestone for research and practice in regional nutrient circular economy.
The plant can process about 200 cubic metres of solids from dry toilets and 100 cubic metres of separately collected urine per year. The experimental operation with supportive scientific research will initially run until the end of 2024.
"This plant shows how innovative and practical circular economy can be and that circular economy works on the most diverse levels," complimented Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action and Member of the German Bundestag, in his opening speech.
Tobias Dünow, State Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, emphasised that in addition to bringing together municipalities and technical innovation, science is also needed - here, the IGZ is an excellent partner.
Dr Wolf Junker, Head of the Department of Resources, Circular Economy; Geo Research at the funding Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Daniel Kurth, District Administrator of the Barnim District, Götz Herrmann, Mayor of the district town of Eberswalde, agreed with the previous speakers: "We need more circular economy!"
IGZ Director Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam summarised after the welcoming speeches: "In order to develop successful solutions for the challenges society faces, we need to bring all actors together at the table. zirkulierBAR is the best example of a successful transdisciplinary project."
Dr Ariane Krause, zirkulierBAR coordinator at IGZ, then gave a brief overview of the achievements and milestones already reached in the project. Carsten Beneker, project engineer at Kreiswerke Barnim GmbH, and Florian Augustin, managing director of dry toilet manufacturer Finizio GmbH, explained how urine and humus treatment work in the new facility and reported on their experiences.
As the host, Kreiswerke Managing Director Christian Mehnert led through the programme, which culminated in a joint opening gesture. The ecological apple tree "Wanja" was supplied by all speakers with all the necessary ingredients for healthy plant growth: water, humus and recycled fertiliser from urine as a nutrient "boost".
More information on the zirkulierBAR project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) can be found here.
Text: zirkulierBAR and IGZ