INEMAD - Improved Nutrient and Energy Management through Anaerobic Digestion

INEMAD will concentrate on innovative strategies to reconnect livestock and crop production farming systems. New flows of energy and materials within the agricultural sector (or linked to the agricultural sector) will be analysed and will create opportunities for re-thinking the relation between crop and livestock production.


New nutrient and energy flows are re-thought to generate growth opportunity for the agricultural and industrial sectors. Nutrient recycling can be done by biogas production and the use of digestate as fertilizer.

The idea for INEMAD arose from the paradoxial situation where in certain European areas on the one hand livestock farming has an excess of nutrients and faces problems with manure disposal, while crop farming imports more and more nutrients through chemical fertilisers. The INEMAD project hopes to bring in some strategies and policy recommendations in that way that nutrient and energy flows between crop and livestock production become more in balance.


INEMAD has a distinct focus on techniques and strategies for optimized nutrient recovery, with additional attention for opportunities for renewable energy production and carbon sequestration.

The first set of objectives refers to the technological developments for nutrient recycling:

  • transform waste to fertilizers;
  • minimize greenhouse gas effect;
  • reconnect livestock and crop production.

The second set of objectives refers to the socio-economic framework to reach the optimal implementation:

  • analysis of legal and organisational challenges;
  • prediction of economic viability;
  • collaboration models across Europe.

Possible Impacts

  • Alleviating environmental problems in crop and livestock production by minimising the reliance on external inputs and stimulating the role of agriculture in greenhouse gas mitigation.
  • Minimising reliance on external inputs by looking in depth at processes for manure and biogas digestate treatment to validate as an optimal green fertiliser.
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation through biogas replacing fossil fuels, digestate replacing chemical fertilisers which needs fossil energy for their production; lignin rich rest flow increasing soil carbon sequestration.
  • Impacts will be in line with EU environmental policies and priority areas.
  • Introduce innovative institutional arrangements in rural areas through the use of participatory approaches and the mix of partners (academic, policy, SME's) will help bring the models developed into economical practice.
  • Compare and give an overview of different legislation in different member states.
  • Make policy recommendations to e.g. introduce new agro-environmental support schemes to valorise crops and by-products, to promote more sustainable farming systems, to make recommendations on taxes or subsidies to obtain more sustainable nutrient cycling, to explore more alternative inter-farm arrangements.