EPA and Partners Launch the Nutrient Recycling Challenge

By Nancy Rabalais
November 17, 2015

EPA has partnered with pork and dairy producers, USDA, and environmental and scientific experts to launch the Nutrient Recycling Challenge—a competition to develop affordable technologies that recycle nutrients from livestock manure. This is an opportunity to encourage those in your states and agencies to consider submitting information on technologies they might be developing and using.


Every year, livestock producers manage over a billion tons of manure, which contains valuable nutrients—nitrogen and phosphorus—that plants need to grow. Scientists and engineers are already building technologies that can recover nutrients, but further development is needed to make them more effective and affordable. The Nutrient Recycling Challenge will harness the power of competition to find solutions that are a win-win for farmers, the environment, and the economy.


Challenge entrants will develop technologies that extract nutrients from manure to generate products with environmental and economic benefits that farmers can use or sell. During the four-phase competition, innovators will turn their concepts into designs and, eventually, into working technologies that livestock farms can use in pilot projects. Phase I, which begins Nov. 16 and ends Jan. 15, calls for papers outlining ideas for these technologies. Phase I prizes will be announced in March and include up to $20,000 cash to be split between up to four semi-finalists; invitation to a two-day partnering and investor summit in Washington, DC; and entry into subsequent phases of the challenge with larger awards.


Partners in the Nutrient Recycling Challenge are:


  • American Biogas Council
  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Cabot Creamery Cooperative
  • Cooper Farms
  • CowPots
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
  • Iowa State University
  • Marquette University
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Pork Producers Council
  • Newtrient LLC
  • Smithfield Foods
  • Strategic Conservation Solutions
  • Tyson Foods
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Washington State University
  • Water Environment Research Federation
  • World Wildlife Fund


For more information: www.nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org

Factsheet on the Nutrient Recycling Challenge: https://www.challenge.gov/files/2015/10/Nutrient-Recycling-Challenge_Factsheet_Nov2015.pdf