The project

Boosting synergies between water and agriculture sectors

A project that seeds innovation and promotes changes

LIFE ENRICH is an European project funded under Life programme whose objective is to contribute to the circular economy through the recovery of nutrients from wastewater and their use as crop fertilizers.

LIFE ENRICH will bring this objective to the practise by developing an innovative treatment train integrating leading-edge technologies that will enable an efficient recovery of both Nitrogen and Phosphorus contained in the wastewater, as ammonium salts and struvite, respectively. The products obtained will be blended in order to obtain suitable fertilizers for the target crops.

In parallel to the technical development, a business model for the entire nutrient recycling value chain will be defined, thus promoting the replicability and transferability of project results in other EU regions.

NAME: Enhanced Nitrogen and phosphorus Recovery from wastewater and Integration in the value Chain


FUNDING: LIFE programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action

BUDGET: 2,770,781 EU CONTRIBUTION: 1,662,467 DURATION : 51 months (September 2017 – November 2021)

COORDINATOR: Cetaqua, Water Technology Center

CONSORTIUM: Aigües del Segarra Garrigues, EMUASA, IRTA, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Universitat Politècnica de València

DEMONSTRATION SITES: 2 pilot plants and 1 process implemented at full-scale


Visit the LIFE ENRICH pilot plant from home!

Find out the technologies we have developed and the solution proposed by LIFE ENRICH. This 360º virtual tour includes interactive materials, such as videos, to learn more about how LIFE ENRICH boosts synergies between water and agriculture. Do you have a VR headset? Use it for a more immersive experience! 

Virtual Tour LIFE ENRICH

Timeline of the project ENRICH

Timeline ENRICH 2022

Murcia Este municipal WWTP characterization

DESCRIPTION: Characterization of Murcia Este WWTP, the experimental site where the prototype will be installed. Selection of the prototype location.
DURATION: 09/2017 – 03/2018
CURRENT STATUS: Completed: 2 analytical campaigns have been done in Murcia Este WWTP in order to establish the basis for the design of the prototype.
The specific location for the prototypes has been selected, taking into account space availability, operational issues as well as the possibility to connect the pilots both electric and hydraulically to the WWTP. Emuasa is now conditioning the space for the installation of the different units.

Definition of field tests: crops selection, methodology, timings

DESCRIPTION: Determination of the field tests to be done with the products obtained from the prototype operation.
DURATION: 09/2017 – 11/2017
CURRENT STATUS: Completed: The crops that will be evaluated during the study have been defined, differentiating between horticultural crops (lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli) and extensive crops (beans and barley). Some green house and open air assays will be done under controlled conditions in Cabrils (Barcelona) by IRTA and other tests in real fields (> 5000 m2) will be done in Castelldans and Agramunt (Lleida, Spain) by ASG. The timing for the different tests has been defined taking into account the requirements of the different crops, as well as the expected availability of the products obtained from the prototype operation.

Design and construction of the prototype

DESCRIPTION: Design, building and installation of the different units that will form part of the LIFE ENRICH prototype: new sludge line configuration in Murcia Este WWTP, crystallization unit and nitrogen recovery.
DURATION: 02/2018 – 09/2019

Prototype operation and integration of the results

DESCRIPTION: Follow-up of the prototype operation, following previously defined experimental and analytical plans. Technical maintenance of the prototype.
DURATION: 09/2019 – 08/2021

Definition of fertilisers and their evaluation through field tests

DESCRIPTION: Characterisation of the products obtained in the prototype, blending to fulfil crops requirements and evaluation under controlled conditions (outdoor and greenhouse) and on commercial plots.
DURATION: 01/2019 – 09/2021

Business model and business plan for Spain

DESCRIPTION: Definition of certification protocols and new business models for the successful implementation of the “new” products in the value chain, assessing their long-term economic feasibility.
DURATION: 09/2019 – 11/2021

Technical, environmental and economic assessment

DESCRIPTION: A multi-scale evaluation of the LIFE ENRICH process, and comparison with the current scenario (wastewater treatment based on “pollutants removal” + use of conventional fertilizers)
DURATION: 09/2019 – 08/2021

Geographical replicability and transferability plan

DESCRIPTION: Evaluation of the replicability of the whole value chain covered by the project in the selected European Countries, taking into account technical, legal and market issues in each country.
DURATION: 05/2020 – 11/2021