The film features innovations that recover and reuse nutrients for a healthier, sustainable Baltic.

Sea of Opportunity presents three innovative technologies that can recapture phosphorus and nitrogen for reuse in agriculture: BioPhree, from Aquacare in the Netherlands; Ultra from TerraNova in Germany; and Ravita from HSY in Finland. The three were winners of a competition run by BONUS RETURN to identify promising technologies in the EU.

The film, which is shot in the project’s three case study river basins – Vantaanjoki, Finland, Fyrisån, Sweden and Słupia, Poland – also features innovators and sustainability experts discussing what is needed for these technologies, and nutrient recycling more broadly, to take root in the Baltic Sea Region.

“In a nutshell, the film highlights how policy coherence and improved linkages to markets need to fall into place to accelerate a transition to a circular economy for nutrients that are essential to agriculture, but environmentally devastating when they wash off farmland into the Baltic, as they do now.”

— Karina Barquet, Project Coordinator for BONUS RETURN and a Research Fellow at Stockholm Environment Institute, which led the production of Sea of Opportunity.

The film also discusses the impact on nutrient recycling of key EU regulations. “At the EU level we are working on restoring the impacts of nutrient overload [on the Baltic Sea] and creating incentives for market-based opportunities,” says Jakob Granit, Director General of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, in the film.

Another expert, Jon Wessling, water and environmental specialist at the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF), observes that a new EU regulation on quality standards for fertilizers marketed in the EU, adopted in May 2019, will favour nutrient recycling – particularly as recycled phosphorus is low in the heavy metal cadmium compared to mineral phosphorus.

“With the new EU fertilizer regulation, this clean phosphorus will probably become more expensive, but there will also be a larger market for innovative solutions. In Sweden, we have goals of increased food production, so we really have no choice but to increase recycling of nutrients, and the sooner the better.”

— Jon Wessling, water and environmental specialist at the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF)

Andrzej Wójtowicz, CEO of Słupsk Waterworks in Poland, notes that EU resource-efficiency measures could also favour nutrient-recycling technologies: “A key element in the so-called EU end-of-waste criteria is that when we process waste and use it to produce fertilizers, we should have open access to the fertilizer market,” says Wójtowicz.

The Baltic Sea is one of the most nutrient-affected water bodies in the world. The Baltic Sea Region is home to more than 85 million people, and the sea itself is almost completely enclosed, meaning pollutants that enter it accumulate over time. Nutrient run-off from agricultural land and effluents from sewage treatment plants drain into the sea, leading to algal blooms and oxygen depletion of benthic zones, threatening marine life.

New case studies from Sweden, Finland and Poland

Watch a trailer for Sea of Opportunity . The full version of the film will be available here , following the launch event in Stockholm The Swedish sludge inquiry – what now for the region?

To read more about work done in BONUS RETURN’s case study river basins, download the new policy briefs focusing on Vantaanjoki in Finland, Słupia in Poland and Fyrisån in Sweden.


BONUS RETURN is exploring innovative technologies to turn waste nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) into profitable and sustainable solutions for reuse that can be scaled up in the Baltic Sea Region. The aim is to improve circulation of nutrients to decrease dependency on chemical fertilizers and reduce surpluses improving the ecological status of the Baltic Sea.

BONUS RETURN consists of a consortium of partners in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Poland:

BONUS RETURN has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research FORMAS,  Sweden’s innovation agency VINNOVA, Academy of Finland and National Centre for Research and Development in Poland.    | Twitter: #BonusReturn