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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Nutrient Recycling Challenge

EPA and its partners are hosting a competition for technologies to recycle nutrients from livestock manure.

Environmental Protection Agency

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $30,000
Type of Challenge: Ideas
Partner Agencies | Federal: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: 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, Washington State University, Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, Washington State University, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, and World Wildlife Fund
Submission Start: 11/16/2015 09:00 AM ET
Submission End: 01/15/2016 11:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here:


The Nutrient Recycling Challenge was a prize competition that EPA launched in 2015 in collaboration with 20 organizations to spur development of affordable technologies that recover nitrogen and phosphorus from dairy and/or swine manure and create value-added products that producers can use or sell. In 2019, the EPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Water Research Foundation (WRF) to build on the successes of Phases I and II by focusing on building capacity for technology evaluation programs and peer-to-peer information sharing about technology performance.

Nutrient Recycling Challenge Phase II Announcement Factsheet (Nov. 2016)

Nutrient Recycling Challenge Phase II FAQs (Oct 2016)

Nutrient Recycling Challenge Partners Banner


Every year, livestock producers manage over a billion tons of animal manure containing valuable nutrients—nitrogen and phosphorus—that plants need to grow. A major use of manure is as a renewable fertilizer, but it should be used properly to minimize water pollution and build healthy soils. In addition, there is a tremendous opportunity to generate environmental and economic benefits from manure by-products, but further innovation is needed to develop more effective and affordable technologies that can extract nutrients and create products that farmers can use, transport, or sell more easily to where nutrients are in demand.

The mission of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge is to help find technologies that are a win-win for the environment, farmers, and the economy. How will it work? There are four phases planned for this innovation challenge, in which innovators will be invited to turn their concepts into designs, and eventually, into working technologies to be piloted on livestock farms: Phase I: Concept Papers [closed] - November 16, 2015 – January 15, 2016 Phase II: Technology Designs - October 2016 – March 2017 Phase III: Prototypes/Proof of Concept  Phase IV: Finalists’ demonstration pilots on farms   

Phase II Program

Phase II of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge will be a non-competitive incubation program to support innovators as they develop Technology Designs based on the Concept Papers submitted in Phase I. Phase II will begin in October 2016 and only be open to the 34 teams selected in Phase I. EPA and its Partners will support the innovators with informational webinars and workshops, individualized feedback, and other resources to maximize their ability to develop designs for effective and affordable technologies. Innovators will finalize their designs and teams by March 2017 before proceeding to Phase III of the challenge, which is expected to be a prize competition for building Prototypes.  

Background: Phase I

EPA received 75 concept papers from around the world in Phase I, and selected 34 submissions to continue on to Phase II of the challenge. On March 30, 2016, EPA announced the winners and awarded a total of $30,000 in cash prizes to the top 10 submissions (four “Winners” and six “Honorable Mentions”). The 34 selected submissions were also invited to the Nutrient Recycling Challenge DC Summit in Washington, DC on March 30-31, 2016, during which the winners received their awards at a ceremony at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The summit provided a forum for innovators to meet Partners, experts, and other innovators, as well as learn about resources to develop their ideas into real-life technologies. EPA seeks to create a “brain trust” that can design nutrient recovery technologies that can achieve what both farmers and the environment need. Documents from Phase I of the challenge:   Cows

EPA Press Release winners & DC Summit: 3/30/2016

EPA Press Release Phase I launch: 11/11/2015

Follow the Nutrient Recycling Challenge:

Facebook: EPAwater is Worth It

Twitter: @EPAwater

Tweet about it#nutrientrecycling

Challenge website:


Nutrient Recycling Challenge Partners:

American Biogas Council

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

Ben & Jerry's

Cabot Creamery Cooperative

Cooper Farms


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

Tyson Foods

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Washington State University

Water Environment & Reuse Foundation

World Wildlife Fund


Phase I Winner! Manure Convertor Paulee Cleantec Ltd. - Dr. Ilan Levy and Oded Halperin
Cash Prize Amount: $6,000

Phase I Winner! Producing Nutrients Concentrated Bio-solids via AnSBEARs - University of Minnesota - Bo Hu, Hongjian Lin, and Xin Zhang
Cash Prize Amount: $6,000

Phase I Winner! Removal of Dissolved N and P from Livestock Manure by Air Stripping - Centrisys Corporation, cnp-Technology Water and Biosolids Corporation - Hiroko Yoshida, Gerhard Forstner, and Josh Gable
Cash Prize Amount: $6,000

Phase I Winner! Slurry Separation with Coanda Effect Separator - Bravespec Systems Ltd. - Ahimbisibwe Michael
Cash Prize Amount: $6,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: Azolla- Biological way of nutrient recovery wallenberg Laboratory - Tulika Arora
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: Ammonia + Recovery - Ocean Foresters and PRD Tech, Inc. - Mark Capron and Rakesh Govind
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: DVO Inc. Advanced Phosphorus Recovery System DVO, Inc. - Doug VanOrnum
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: Nutrient Recycling by Lime Treatment and Precipitation of Inorganic Salts power and Water Corporation, Flinders University of South Australia and KU Leuven (Belgium) jordan Phasey, Howard Fallowfield, and Dries Vandamme
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: The Production of Renewable Low Carbon Transportation Fuels and Nutrient Concentrated By-Products through the AWS System - Agricultural Waste Solutions, Inc. and Scott Bros. Dairy Farms - Michael Bagtang, Bruce Scott, and Steve McCorkle
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000

Phase I Honorable Mention: Recycle Nutrients from Livestock Manure and Create Valuable Products - Trident Processes, LLC and Soil Net LLC. - Kerry Doyle, Tracey Mrak, Dr. Roa-Espinosa, and Richard Shatto
Cash Prize Amount: $1,000


The submissions period for Phase I of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge closed on January 15, 2016. Phase II will begin in October 2016, and will be limited to the 34 innovator teams selected to proceed from Phase I. 
  Photo of plant sprouting from the ground.