// Recovering Phosphorus during Sewage Sludge Incineration

ZSW researcher analyzing the ash produced by incinerating sewage sludge. Photo: ZSW

The steps of the proposed process. Diagram: ZSW

Testing facility successfully put in operation at ZSW

Phosphorus, currently obtained from phosphate rock, is a key component of fertilizers, detergents and food additives, while its resources are limited. Alternatively phosphorus can be recovered from sewage sludge. The problem is that today’s recycling processes are cumbersome and expensive. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, ZSW) is pursuing a three-year research project to change that. Its scientists are developing a process to extract phosphorus as an incinerator burns sewage sludge. A testing plant has been up and running successfully since spring of 2019. The business prospects for phosphorus recycling certainly look very promising in Germany, where all large waste water treatment plants will be required to recover it as of 2029.

For the full press release, please download the pdf file below.

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