Researcher: Viktoriia Hetmanenko (Ph.D.), Postdoctoral researcher, Natural Resources Institute Finland

Supervisors: Kimmo Rasa, Research Manager, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland; Riikka Keskinen, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland

Description of the project: Food security, climate resilience, and nitrogen fertilizer shortage have shot to the top of the global agenda. Nutrient surpluses in agriculture in combination with fertilizer-related emissions and maintenance of soil health issues have brought enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) to the forefront of crop nutrition.

The aim of Integfertisol is to develop sustainable, multifunctional enhanced efficiency fertilizer to boost food production and reduce dependence on nitrogen fertilizer imports in Finland, benefitting soil health, carbon sequestration, and water quality. The focus of this project is the technological substantiation of nitrogen adsorption from the local liquid side streams by a char derived from wood fiber sludge and providing recommendations on the application of the new EEF in Finnish agricultural practices with the possibility to scale-up.

The main expected impact of the project is strengthening the resilience and agility of the Finnish fertilizer industry and promoting the circular economy by establishing local value chains and overcoming the obstacles of using liquid organic side streams.

On a more personal note, I would also like to draw attention that I was developing technologies for the production of fertilizers while working in Ukraine. Due to Russia’s invasion, I have had to flee my home city Kharkiv, which is still suffering from constant Russian missile strikes. Natural Resources Institute Finland, which has joined the #ScienceForUkraine initiative to support the Ukrainian academic community, kindly accepted my application for a Postdoc position. The initiative of the Suomen Luonnonvarain Tutkimussäätiö to open a call for Ukrainian researchers is a strong expression of solidarity and a great opportunity for early career scientists to contribute to resource-efficient natural resources economy in a time of crisis.