About the project


LIFE LIBERNITRATE (LIFE16 ENV / ES / 000419) is a 3-year project in the context of the LIFE financing program whose main objective is to reduce the concentration of nitrates throughout the water cycle.

The use of chemical fertilizers has increased from 14 million tons in 1954 to 200.5 million tons in 2018. Nitrogen fertilizers trigger harmful environmental processes, such as eutrophication, acidification, contamination of water resources and emission of oxides of nitrogen (NOx). In Europe, 87% of groundwater contains excess nitrates (European Environment Agency). In areas of intensive farming and livestock rearing, the nitrate concentration in groundwater can reach up to seven times the legal limit. The number of areas vulnerable to this pollution has increased in recent years, especially in Romania, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. Various studies have shown that the effectiveness of soil management measures to lower nitrate levels in rivers and groundwater is limited. New strategies are needed to accelerate the recovery of EU water bodies from nitrate pollution. In this framework, LIFE LIBERNITRATE has been proposed as a way to reduce the concentration of nitrates in the integral water cycle. This will be achieved by implementing an innovative, simple, economical, sustainable and transferable integrated system.


To achieve this objective, two prototypes will be developed within the framework of the project:

  • A prototype to produce active silica from the controlled incineration of rice straw to obtain silica-rich ash.
  • A prototype of the preparation and implementation of active silica beds to reduce the concentration of nitrates in the water cycle by acting:
      – In the water collector (from groundwater) and in the reject water of an osmosis plant.
      – In water from wells for human consumption in small municipalities to reduce the concentration of nitrates below 50 ppm, without the use of an osmosis plant.