A peerless project to recover phosphorus from sewage sludge is underway in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The Abwas-serzweckverband Staufener Bucht – the regional sewage board – has set out to build an incineration plant on the Rhine River in southern Baden. Unlike conventional plants, it will extract phosphorus on the fly, as sewage sludge is incinerated. WEHRLE-WERK AG developed this promising recovery process with its research partner, the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), and will now roll it out in an industrial application. This new technology could make phosphorus recycling more efficient. If the one-megawatt pilot plant produces the results researchers hope to achieve, engineers could then retrofit other sewage sludge incinerators to recover phosphorous directly, without any further processing. Time is an issue for the organizations that operate sewage treatment plants: Phosphorous recovery will be mandatory for all large plants in Germany as of 2029. The State Ministry of the Environment and the EU are funding this project to the tune of 4.2 million euros.
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