eqo.x – biodegradable coating technology
ICL launches a breakthrough technology for coated and biodegradable, more efficient and greener fertilizers.
Last year on September 15, ICL announced a new era in controlled release fertilizers with the launch of eqo.x, a rapidly degradable release technology designed for open field agriculture. This innovative solution is made possible through a biodegradable coating, which will help farmers maximize the performance of agricultural crops while reducing the environmental impact, by reducing the loss of nutrients and increasing the nutrient use efficiency (NUE) by up to 80%. The technology maintains and even increases crop yield while saving costs, helping to reduce the number of nitrogen applications, and the amount of nitrogen applied and providing a consistent and predictable release of nutrients.
First-of-a-kind biodegradable CRF coating
The eqo.x technology is the first solution offered on the market to deliver coated controlled release fertilizer (CRF) for urea, which degrades faster, and has been specially designed to meet the future European fertilizer standards that will come into effect in 2026. The new technology will be applied to ICL’s CRF products for agricultural crops, including the Agromaster and Agrocote brands, and will help reduce nutrient loss. This achievement is critical and significant for the European Farm to Fork strategy as well as for the EU Soil Strategy for 2030, which aim to reduce the loss of nutrients by at least 50% by 2030.
Elad Aharonson, President of the Innovative Solutions for Agriculture Division at ICL announced “We are proud to present our most advanced CRF coating, eqo.x biodegradable release technology, which will also help control the release of nutrients on a daily basis – by meeting the specific needs of every crop – and will also result in a higher efficiency of nutrient use. The innovative, greener technology will provide precise nutrition through a coating that decomposes faster, and helps improve yield, reduce nutrient loss and simplify fertilizer applications. Beyond the benefit to farmers, this is an environmental solution, since the coating significantly reduces the infiltration of nutrients into the soil and groundwater, compared to normal fertilizers.”
Investing in future production
ICL estimates that the innovative coating will be available to farmers in Europe by 2023, and in order to meet the expected market demand, is investing $20 million in a new production line for the eqo.x release technology at the Heerlen facility in the Netherlands. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global controlled-release fertilizers market size was USD 2.3 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 3.86 billion by 2026, representing a CAGR of 6.37% during the forecast period.