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Phosphorus Recovery from Wastewater—Expert Survey on Present Use and Future Potential

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Today, a variety of different approaches to the recovery of phosphorus from wastewater, sludge, and sludge ash exist. These approaches differ basically by the origin of the used matter (wastewater, sludge liquor, fermented or nonfermented sludge ash) and the process (precipitation, wet-chemical extraction, and thermal treatment). To rate them according to their characteristics, the latter were phrased as hypotheses and subjected to an international expert survey. The survey showed that phosphorus recovery is expected to become an established process over the next 20 years in industrialized countries for economic reasons. A decisive aspect in this regard will be the quality of the produced fertilizer. Simple technologies such as the recovery from sludge liquor seem to be preferred. If sludge is incinerated, phosphorus recycling from ash then becomes more interesting and has to be considered. Phosphorus recovery and source-separating sanitation technologies are more appropriate for industrialized countries than for developing countries. Because the growing awareness of environmental issues will prevent sludge from being used agriculturally in an increasing number of countries in the next decade, the market potential for nutrient recovery technologies will increase in the immediate future.
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Keywords: economic potential; phosphorus; recovery; sludge; sludge ash; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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