Business development award for Steffen Georg

Published on
November 23, 2019

ETE PhD student Steffen Georg won the WaterCampus Business Development Course 2019. During this yearly challenge, talented (PhD) researchers with little experience with business yet learn how to turn their innovative technologies and services into a viable and successful business case. The final challenge, held in November, was to pitch their idea for a jury of business developers. Georg won participation in an accelerator program to further develop his business.

Georg’s winning idea was to recover NH3 and NH4+ from manure and to subsequently reuse it as a precursor in the fertilizer industry.‘My idea excelled in the contest because it offered a possible solution to the problems of the current Dutch nitrogen crisis. It is inspired on my PhD research where we recover nitrogen from wastewater’, Georg explains. ‘I thought it would be a good idea to connect my business to an actual problem with a high impact on society in The Netherlands.’

The principle of his technology is to produce electricity from organic material present in manure using bacteria. The electricity generated is subsequently used to form ammonium sulphate from the NH4+ and fosphate present. ‘Ammonium phosphate can be used as a precursor in the fertilizer industry’, Georg explains. ‘This way we close nitrogen cycles, while we utilize the energy generated in the same process. This makes the technology sustainable.’ 

From March 16-20, 2020, the WaterCampus organizes the European
WaterCampus Business Challenge for Start-Up companies or persons that are in the process of becoming a Start-Up. The organizers are now looking for new participants. To obtain more information or to register, please send an Email to: or

This research is part of Wetsus Resource Recovery Theme.