Agriculture Biosolids

Agriculture Dominates the Application Area of Biosolids

Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A recent report by Mordor Intelligence states that the global biosolids market was valued at USD139.74 million in 2015 and is projected to reach USD174.98 million by 2020. Research analysts claim that North America will continue its dominance in the biosolids market and is likely to occupy more than 43 percent of the overall market revenue by 2020.

Wide range of biosolid application

Wastewater treatment has become an essential process to meet the growing demand of water across the globe on account of increasing population and rapid urbanization rate, according to Mordor Intelligence. What one flushes down the toilet and plug-holes in his/her house, eventually requires treatment at a sewage treatment plant. Wastewater is treated when it reaches the plant, and in the process, organic matter and nutrients are removed, thereby creating solid waste. This waste is further treated to remove odor and harmful organisms, which results in the formation of biosolids. The final quality of the biosolids produced depends on the quality of the sewage entering the treatment plant and the treatment process. Biosolids are graded according to chemical composition and the level of pathogens remaining after production. These biosolids are rich in minerals and nutrients and are increasingly used in a variety of sectors, ranging from agriculture (used in the form of soil conditioners and fertilizers) to energy production. This wide range of biosolid application is driving the global biosolids market. Moreover, the Mordor Intelligence report states that agriculture is the dominant application area of biosolids, which accounts for 60 percent of the market as of 2015, followed by the non-agriculture land application (20 percent) and energy recovery (20 percent). Crop fertilizer is the major application of biosolids in agriculture, while reclaiming mining sites are most commonly observed in the non-agricultural application segment. Heat generation is the major application in energy production using biosolids as fuel and accounts for 88 percent of the energy production usage in 2015.

“… stringent government discharge laws regarding the wastewater sludge from chemical plants and processing plants has intensified the use of biosolids”

Market drivers

Biosolids are carefully treated and monitored and must be used in accordance with regulatory requirements. Technavio’s market research analysts assert that stringent government discharge laws regarding the wastewater sludge from chemical plants and processing plants has intensified the use of biosolids. Biosolids have a crucial potential value in terms of the overall expense of biosolids management. They are used as a waste product and offer an eco-friendly method for substituting the chemical fertilizers. People are becoming more aware about the benefits of biosolids and similar organic products, predominantly in agricultural production. The growing recognition and support for the beneficial use of biosolids will significantly propel the growth of this market over the next four years. The growing agricultural activities across the globe will result in the increased adoption of biosolids in the agricultural sector. At present, the use of biosolids is popular only in the developed economies such as, Europe and the Americas. However, the developing countries offer a massive opportunity for the vendors to grow mainly due to their vast agricultural activities, adds Technavio’s repot. The growing application of biosolids solutions to meet multiple objectives in agricultural and non-agricultural land applications and their ability to provide environmental sustainability will push the overall market growth during the forecast period (2016-2020).


Market leaders

Key vendors dominate the market in terms of their geographical reach, product innovations, pricing, and quality. To gain a competitive edge over their peers, the market players are focusing on the formulation of application-specific biosolids, states Technavio’s report. Competition in the market is expected to intensify due to the entry of various chemical giants. Leading vendors in the market are Alka-Tech, BIODISK, Casella Waste Systems, GeoEnvironment, Symbiont and Wm. H. Reilly. In terms of geographical segmentation, North America has the largest market share in biosolids market. The North American biosolids market is expected to grow from USD57.85 million in 2015 to USD71.74 million in 2020 with a cumulative annual growth rate of 4.4 percent, according to another Mordor Intelligence report. Biosolids have evolved into economically viable technology in North America. The region is expected to hold onto its position as global leader in biosolids for foreseeable future. Much of the North America market share is occupied by the USA, followed by Canada and Mexico.

Dana Hani
Content Editor & Researcher