Orbicon is developing matrix solutions

IMG_1890 Project manager Henrik Skovgaard, Orbicon.

Why participate in Future Cropping

– The nutrient loss via tile drains varies depending on local geography. Fertilizer application according to economic optimum may have consequences for the aquatic environment. This is where we can contribute to Future Cropping’s overall aim to secure optimal treatment for specific parts of the field and thereby optimize yields without unwanted effects for the environment, says project manager Henrik Skovgaard, Orbicon.

-We are convinced that we have some sound future solutions for removing nutrients from drainage water in a cost effective way. In cooperation with several municipalities and scientists we have developed and tested constructed wetlands since 2008.

Orbicon is part of work package 9 and focusses on designing filter technologies.


Focus area

In Future Cropping, Orbicon is developing a filter matrix solution designed to filter drainage water through a matrix of e.g. wood chips. The matrix imitates natural conditions where microorganisms bind or transform nutrients. Six pilot matrixes have been constructed. One of the matrixes covers an area of 0.13 ha and effectively removes and retains N and P from a catchment area of 110 ha. Thus, the area needed for constructing the matrix is relatively small also compared to surface-flow constructed wetlands. However, following conditions must be met in order to optimise the effect:

  • A minimum residence time of 10 hours.
  • To protect a healthy population of microorganisms the matrix should be prevented from drying out.
  • The filter matrix capacity should be adapted to the load also at extreme events.
  • The matrix filter should be located at the end of larger drainage networks with limited natural nutrient retention and removal
  • Replacing filter material and emptying the sedimentation basin is part of the overall maintenance. The filter matrix should be designed with a minimum requirement for maintenance.


The above mentioned are some of the issues, we are working on in Future Cropping.


Our vision for participating in Future Cropping

In the coming years Orbicon expects a considerable growth in the marked for consulting in establishing constructed wetlands and filter matrix technology as a consequence of the new targeted regulation.

– we expect that filter solutions for cleaning tile drain discharge is approved as an instrument in future environmental regulation and as instrument in the national water action plans. The objective in the national water action plans is to secure high ecological status in Danish streams, lakes and fjords at the latest in 2017.


About Orbicon

Orbicon was established in 1999 as part of the Dalgas-group owned by Hedeselskabet. The company employs 500 people. The overall purpose is to provide sustainable and coherent solutions embedded in environment, nature, supply, construction and building activities.


Project participants from Orbicon:

  • Senior project manager and biologist Henrik Skovgaard,
  • biologist Bjarne Moeslund and
  • engineer Hans Mørk