Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wastewater – a recyclable resource!

26.09.2012
European joint research project P-REX has started to foster phosphorus recovery systems

Wastewater is not simply waste. Besides a considerable amount of energy, the sludge produced during wastewater treatment contains also a number of vital nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

For this reason, it has been a longstanding tradition to use sewage sludge as agricultural fertiliser. This method however, is hotly debated in the meanwhile, since besides valuable nutrients, also heavy metals or organic trace substance may occur, which should not find their way into food chains.

As a consequence, nowadays mainly artificial fertiliser is used for agricultural purposes. In this context, a problem has arisen due to the fact that the added phosphorus, which is mined in the form of phosphate rock in only few regions worldwide, e.g. China or Morocco, is a finite resource. The commodity markets have reacted accordingly in recent years: In 2006, the markets valued 1 tonne of phosphate rock to around € 35. Since then, the phosphate prices have increased manifold, and continues to trend upward.

90% of the phosphate rock used in Europe is imported. Germany imports 120.000 tons of these plant nutrients in the form of mineral fertiliser per year.

At the same time, wastewaters contain around 70.000 tons of phosphorus which is not used in most cases. The targeted recycling of phosphorus from wastewater could cover up to 60% of the demand in Germany. Numerous methods have been developed in the frame of pilot projects, but none of them has allowed for a large scale implementation. According to Andreas Hartmann, Managing Director of Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin, this is due to the fact that the research activities carried out so far have rather focused on phosphorus yield than on the practical feasibility of the methods applied.

The priorities are to be changed now. The European research initiative P-REX, which is coordinated by Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin, is intended to assist with advancing the development of efficient technological solutions for recycling phosphorus from sewage sludge throughout Europe.

In close cooperation with partners from science, industry sectors and agricultural professionals, the best practice recycling methods will be evaluated. Besides different technical solutions, these methods explicitly include also the direct use of wastewater in agriculture. The project aims to increase the recycling rate of phosphorus from wastewater to 80 %. In addition to the evaluation of the phosphorus yield, systematic investigations will also be carried out on the fertilising effect of the recycling products. Furthermore, the market potential of the individual recycling schemes and recycling products will be analysed.

The project consortium comprises 15 partners from seven European countries, among then nine SMEs. The project has an overall budget of € 4.4 million covering a period of three years, and will be supported by the EU with € 2.9 million.

P-Rex at a glance:

Project title:
Sustainable sewage sludge management fostering phosphorous recycling and energy efficiency (P-REX)

Volume:
€4.4 million, project duration 3 years; EU contribution €2.9 million

Consortium:
15 partners from 7 countries, including 9 SMEs.

Aims:
Demonstration and systematic validation of technical processes and plants; systematic evaluation of recycling products with regard to their fertilising effects; market potential analysis of recycling technology and recycling products; development of strategies for phosphorus recovery form wastewaters taking into consideration regional conditions

Web:
http://www.p-rex.eu

Coordination:
Dr. Christian Kabbe
christian.kabbe@kompetenz-wasser.de

Consortium:
Agro Plus Handelsunternehmen eU (Austria); ASIO, spol. s r.o. (Czech Republic); BSH Umweltservice AG (Switzerland); Berliner Wasserbetriebe (associated Partner)(Germany); BAM Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (Germany); Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (Switzerland); Ingitec GmbH (Germany); IASP atr Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany); Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbH (Germany); LimCo International GmbH (Germany); Outotec Oy (Finland); P.C.S. Pollution Control Service GmbH (Germany); PFI Planungsgemeinschaft GbR (Germany); Proman Management GmbH (Austria); Solintel M&P, S.L. (Spain); Veolia Eau (France)

Dr.-Ing. Bodo Weigert | idw
Further information:
http://www.p-rex.eu
http://www.kompetenz-wasser.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>