Monday, April 16, 2012

Phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge with a hybrid process of low pressure wet oxidation and nanofiltration.

Phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge will become increasingly important within the next decades due to depletion of mineral phosphorus resources. In this work a new process concept was investigated, which aims at realising phosphorus recovery in a synergistic way with the overall sewage sludge treatment scheme. This process combines a low pressure wet oxidation for sewage sludge decomposition as well as phosphorus dissolution and a nanofiltration process to separate phosphorus from heavy metals and obtain a clean diluted phosphoric acid, from which phosphorus can be recovered as clean fertiliser. It was shown that this process concept is feasible for sewage sludge for wastewater treatment plants that apply enhanced biological removal or precipitation with alumina salts for phosphorus removal. The critical parameter for phosphorus dissolution in the low pressure wet oxidation process is the iron concentration, while in the nanofiltration multi-valent cations play a predominant role. In total, a phosphorus recovery of 54% was obtained for an exemplary wastewater treatment plant. Costs of the entire process are in the same range as conventional sewage sludge disposal, with the benefit being phosphorus recovery and reduced emission of greenhouse gases due to avoidance of sludge incineration.
Christoph Blöcher, Claudia Niewersch, Thomas MelinBayer Technology Services GmbH, Chempark Building E41, 51368 Leverkusen, Germany. Journal Article: Water Research (impact factor: 4.36). 04/2012; 46(6):2009-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.01.022

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