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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 694597, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/694597
Research Article

Characterisation of Organomineral Fertilisers Derived from Nutrient-Enriched Biosolids Granules

1School of Applied Science, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
2University of Southern Queensland, National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, Building Z2, West Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
3United Utilities Group PLC, Lingley Mere Business Park, Warrington WA5 3LP, UK
4Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB, UK

Received 23 June 2013; Accepted 30 August 2013

Academic Editor: Leonid Perelomov

Copyright © 2013 Diogenes L. Antille et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Organomineral fertilisers (OMFs) were produced by coating biosolids granules with urea and potash. Two OMF formulations with N : P2O5 : K2O compositions: 10 : 4 : 4 (OMF10) and 15 : 4 : 4 (OMF15) were developed for application in grassland and arable crops. Routine fertiliser analyses were conducted on four batches of OMF and biosolids granules and compared with a sample of urea to determine key physical and chemical properties of the materials which affect handling and spreading, soil behaviour, and fertiliser value. Bulk and particle densities were in the range of 608 to 618 kg m−3, and 1297 to 1357 kg m−3, respectively. Compression tests showed that OMF particles undergo deformation followed by multiple failures without disintegration of the granules when vertical load was applied. Static particle strength was between 1.18 and 4.33 N mm−2 depending on the particle diameter. The use of a model for fertiliser particle distribution studies showed that OMF granules should be between 1.10 and 5.50 mm in diameter with about 80% of the particles in the range of 2.25 to 4.40 mm to enable application at 18 m tramline spacing. This research utilises novel technology to improve the fertiliser value of biosolids, reduce disposal costs, and deliver a range of environmental benefits associated with recycling.