By 31 December 2023, wastewater treatment plant operators in Germany are required to submit a concept for phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge.
For this given reason, we would like to support plant operators in the conceptual design and the associated steps such as sampling 2023 and 2027, evaluation of the necessary measures up to the submission in accordance with the authorities.
Our developed RSR process takes into account all future legal requirements and represents the optimal implementation for the required phosphorus recovery.
Of course, we are also happy to support you in concept development using phosphorus recovery techniques in wastewater or wet sludge.
Due to population growth, the increased standard of living and our meat consumption, the demand for phosphate fertilizers increases by an additional 2% per year. The global demand for phosphorus for use in agriculture as fertilizer is currently over 40 million tons per year.
Studies expect a "phosphorus peak" in the period from 2051 to 2092 - meaning that from that point on, phosphorus consumption will be higher than can be mined and recovered.
Phosphorus-rich countries such as China, Russia and Turkey have recognized the critical situation and stopped their fertilizer exports in the 4th quarter of 2021 in order to be able to guarantee security of supply at home.
THE MAIN PHOSPHATE FERTILIZERS ARE ...
PHOSPHOR, the most important component of organic growth, passes through the food cycle from plants to animals and humans after fertilization of the field (for example, around 125,000 t of phosphorus fertilizer in Germany per year). The non-usable components of the food end up in the material flow, or better expressed in wastewater, which has to be treated in the nearest wastewater treatment plant.
The nutrients contained in the material flow, such as the vital phosphorus, must be recovered by means of a technical process and circulated in accordance with the Circular Economy Act.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY ACT
The purpose of the Act is to promote the circular economy to conserve natural resources and to ensure the protection of people and the environment in the generation and management of waste.
The Circular Economy Act emphasizes the avoidance, recovery and recycling of waste over disposal.
From this follows the 5-level waste hierarchy §6:
ORDINANCE ON THE REORGANIZATION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE UTILIZATION
This regulation applies to the operators of wastewater treatment plants who are responsible for the production of sewage sludge.
According to §3 (1) Circular Economy Act of sewage sludge, the operators are obliged,
to recycle the sewage sludge produced in the wastewater treatment plant to the highest possible quality, as far as this is technically possible and economically reasonable. In this context, the recovery of phosphorus and the return of the recovered phosphorus or phosphorus-containing sewage sludge incineration ash into the economic cycle shall be aimed at.
Article 4 §3a obliges the sewage sludge producer to submit, by 31.12.2023 at the latest, a report on the planned and initiated measures to ensure the phosphorus recovery to be carried out from 1 January 2029 in the sense of the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act.