Developing the nitrogen handprint approach to quantify the positive impacts of industrial symbiosis on nitrogen cycles

Laura Lakanen, Heli Kasurinen, Kaisa Grönman, Katri Behm (Corresponding Author), Saija Vatanen, Tiina Pajula, Risto Soukka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Excessive nitrogen (N) uptake for nutrient use in food production and industry and increased N losses to the environment severely interfere with nutrient cycles and harm the environment and thus, closing N cycles through N recovery and recycling is required to improve N use efficiency. To quantify positive impacts enhancing N cycles, this study suggests a novel N handprint approach, which combines life cycle assessment based nutrient footprint and carbon handprint approaches. The N handprint comprises of a set of indicators providing a wide systemic view on changes in N cycles. The case study demonstrates that the N handprint is created when a recycled N nutrient product is used instead of a virgin N nutrient for the needs of a pulp and paper mill wastewater treatment. According to our results, the handprint equals a reduction of 454 kg of virgin N inputs, and 5.6 kg of total N inputs for daily treated wastewater. Additionally, global warming potential is 91%, and the eutrophication potential 48% lower for the recycled N nutrient than for the virgin N nutrient. These results can be used to promote the use of recycled N on similar occasions in order to improve nutrient use efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100090
JournalCleaner Environmental Systems
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Carbon handprint
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Nitrogen handprint
  • Nitrogen recovery
  • Nitrogen recycling
  • Nutrient footprint

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