Ola Stedje Hanserud 1,2,* , Kari-Anne Lyng 3,4, Jerke W. De Vries 5, Anne Falk Øgaard 1 and Helge Brattebø 2
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 595; doi:10.3390/su9040595
Specialized agricultural production between regions has led to large regional differences in soil phosphorus (P) over time. Redistribution of surplus manure P from high livestock density regions to regions with arable farming can improve agricultural P use efficiency. In this paper, the central research question was whether more efficient P use through manure P redistribution comes at a price of increased environmental impacts when compared to a reference system. Secondly, we wanted to explore the influence on impacts of regions with different characteristics. For this purpose, a life cycle assessment was performed and two regions in Norway were used as a case study. Several technology options for redistribution were examined in a set of scenarios, including solid–liquid separation, with and without anaerobic digestion of manure before separation. The most promising scenario in terms of environmental impacts was anaerobic digestion with subsequent decanter centrifuge separation of the digestate. This scenario showed that redistribution can be done with net environmental impacts being similar to or lower than the reference situation, including transport. The findings emphasize the need to use explicit regional characteristics of the donor and recipient regions to study the impacts of geographical redistribution of surplus P in organic fertilizer residues.