Methods and Possibility for Recycling ... Phosphorus from Sludge Yogesh Chapagain

Methods  and  Possibility  for  Recycling ... Phosphorus from Sludge Yogesh Chapagain
Yogesh Chapagain
Methods and Possibility for Recycling of
Phosphorus from Sludge
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Bachelor of Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Methods and possibility for recycling of Phosphorus from Sludge
April 2016
Number of Pages
Yogesh Chapagain
Methods and possibility of Recycling of Phosphorus from
44 pages + 2 Appendices
April 2016
Bachelor of Engineering
Degree Programme
Environmental Engineering
Specialisation option
Water, Wastewater and Waste Treatment Technology
Kaj Lindedahl, Senior Lecturer, Helsinki Metropolia UAS
This thesis presents a review of the phosphorus cycle, environmental effect of excess phosphorus on environment, different methods approach taken to recover
phosphorus compound from waste sludge, and possible uses for recovered phosphorus.
Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for the agricultural production and living organism
survival. The use of phosphorus in fertilizer secures future food demand but threatens water resources. The uncontrolled use of agricultural phosphorus and commercial products are leading to contamination and environmental degradation in
water bodies nearby agricultural land. The inefficient use of phosphorus creates
uncertainties in supply and demand of this nonrenewable resource for future demand. The amount of phosphorus has a directly impact on the agricultural production which affects the food industry.
Sludge produced from sewage and water treatment plant are enriched with nutrients. This thesis focused on methods for recovery of phosphorus from sludge with
four different methods: microalgae and cyanobacteria(Bio-extraction), wet extraction process, thermochemical method, nanofiltration in diafiltration mode. Recovery
methods performed by different researchers suggest the efficiency range from 5090% depending on properties of sludge composition and sludge extraction process
in sludge and water treatment plant. All the experiments methods were performed
in laboratory condition.
The extraction of phosphorus from sludge has high potential for fulfilling growing
demand of phosphorus for fertilizer, commercial products like detergent and phosphoric acid. The side products obtained from recovering phosphorus from sludge
can be used as additives for cement manufacturing.
phosphorus, recycling, leaching, fertilizer, filtration,
sludge, sewage sludge ash, surface runoff treatment
Goal and Scope
Literature Review
3.1 Phosphorus
Phosphorus Presence in Earth
Sources of Phosphorus
Phosphorus Cycle
3.2 Possible ways of Releasing of Phosphorus to Environment
Crop Production
Livestock Rearing
Meat Processing
Sewage and Waste Management
3.3 Effect of Phosphorus on Environment
Eutrophication Process
Effect of Eutrophication
Effect on Bioaccumulation
Health Risk of Eutrophication
Phosphorus Treatment Technologies
4.1 Physical
Filtration for Particulate Phosphorus
Membrane Technology
4.2 Chemical
4.3 Biological
5.1 Sludge Source
5.2 Sludge Composition
5.3 Sludge Extraction Process
5.4 Sludge Treatment
5.5 Uses of Sludge
Methods and Possibilities for Recycling of Phosphorus from Sludge
6.1 Polyphosphate Accumulating Microalgae and Cyanobacteria (Bio
6.2 Recovery Method of Phosphorus from Sewage Sludge Ash (SSA)
Wet Extraction for Sewage Sludge Ash
Thermo Chemical Methods for Phosphorus recovery from Ash
6.3 Nanofiltration
Nanofiltration in Diafilration Mode
Low Pressure Wet Oxidation and Nanofiltration
6.4 Comparison of recovery methods
Possible Uses for Recycles Phosphorus and the Side Products
7.1 Agricultural Fertilizer
7.2 Construction and Industrial Applications
Appendix 1. Recycled polyphosphate as substitute to phosphorus fertilizer
Appendix 2. Wet Extraction for SWCO residual.
I express my gratitude to Mr. Kaj Lindedahl, Senior Lecturer at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for providing me an opportunity to do my thesis and also for
supervising it. I also wish to express my gratitude to all staff members at Helsinki
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences who supported and helped during my study
period and other project work.
I sincerely thank Dr. Audra Morse, from Texas Tech University for giving me a break to
start my career in the field of engineering and research work.
My special thanks to my family and friends for their support, guidance and motivation.
List of Figures
Figure 1. Phosphorus Bottlenecks: Physical, economic, social and ecological factors
limiting the availability of phosphorus for productive use by humans for fertilizer and
hence food production.
Figure 2. Schematic Representation of the P Cycle (Lenntech, 2015)
Figure 3. Transport of Phosphorus from Agricultural Land to Surface Water (Gregory
Mullins, Virginia Tech).
Figure 4. Process of Eutrophication.
Figure 5. Flow diagram for sludge extraction process from Municipal Water Treatmet
Plant via activated sludge process and external membrane bioreactor. (A. Drew et al.,
2005) §
Figure 6. Recovered percentage of Phosphate from leaching ash and supercritical water oxidation residuals with HCL (Stark et al. 2006)
Figure 7. Recovery of Phosphorus from SCWO residual using NaOH (Stark and Hultman, 2003)
List of Tables
Table 1. Effective sludge treatment processes
Table 2. A comparison of Phosphorus Recovery from Sewage Sludge Ash with wet
extraction method.
Table 3. Comparison of Phosphorus recovery methods.
Table 4. Merits and demerit of method for recycling phosphorus from sludge
Dissolved Oxygen
Digested Sludge
Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal
Emerging Organic Contamination
Heavy Metal
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Polyphosphate Accumulating organism
Phosphorus Solubilizing Organism
Total Phosphorus
Total Nitrogen
Surface Runoff
Sewage Sludge Ash
Super Critical Water Oxidation
Volatile Organic Compound
Water Extractable Phosphorus
Phosphorus (P) is an important element for all life and is a prerequisite for sustained
agricultural productivity. The earth’s crust is made from 0.01% of phosphorus. Due to
high reactive nature of phosphorus, it is not available naturally in its elemental form.
Phosphorus is present in compound form, especially in mineral like phosphate rock
(Ca3 (PO4)2. Mineral phosphate is a natural resource which can be measured, quantified and exploited in mining. Bones and all living tissue are partly composed of phosphorus (Cordell et al., 2011). The ocean floor is also the biggest source for phosphorus
in earth. There is no artificial substitute for fulfilling the demand of phosphorus.
Knowledge of recycling Phosphorus has become an important issue to meet the future
demand for agriculture and human life.
In recent years, the researchers have reported on phosphorus release pathways to
environment from sources like agriculture and sewage. These pathways raise the ionic
phosphorus level in water body and lead to eutrophication. The quality of water and
productivity of soil is degraded. Soil contamination leads to high bioaccumulation in
food chain from plant to human. The potential of recycling phosphorus from sludge,
waste has been studied extensively in recent years to prevent possible phosphorus
release to environment. Many standard procedures for recycling phosphorus from
waste and sludge has been studied and performed around the globe at research scale.
Research data presented in the literature suggest many applicable ways of recycling as
well as effect of recycling of phosphorus on global food security.
Phosphorus is limited resource; high percentage composition of phosphorus in sludge
indicates the greatest potential for recovering phosphorus. Sludge is produced from
industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plant. High percentage of nutrients excreted by human body in form of urine is processed from wastewater treatment plant.
So recovering phosphorus from sludge has high prospective. A considerable amount of
research has been done in the field of extraction of phosphorus from sludge but suitable extraction process varies from country to country. However, less attention has been
paid to the recycling of phosphorus from sludge. The reuse of recycled phosphorus will
certainly decrease the phosphorus footprint. Since, it is wise idea for preserving earth
composed of 0.01% of phosphorus. Phosphorus recycling from wastewater and sludge
is important to control the eutrophication of water bodies. Recycling of phosphorus can
be performed by physical, chemical and biological methods. Sludge is processed from
sewage treatment and water treatment plant. Sludge is removed from different phase
of treatment plant i.e. primary clarifiers, secondary clarifiers. Presence of high nutrient
contain in sludge makes it high value resource well worth the expense of capture infrastructure (Cordell et al., 2014 and Cordell et al., 2009).
This thesis presents a review of a competing sludge treatment processes with a focus
on phosphorus recycling in terms of efficiency and cost.
Goal and Scope
The limited supply of phosphorus and its applicability to different sectors makes it more
valuable. Phosphorus compounds are used for products like food, packing industry,
personal care product, detergents. Collection of consumed phosphorus in sewage and
treatment of sewage generate phosphorus rich sludge ending up in landfill, agriculture
lands, mining, production of soil. Recycling of sludge before ending up in landfill or soil
production could help to fulfill increasing demand of phosphorus in globe (Hideaki et
al., 2015 and Jiechen wt al., 2015).
Excessive use of phosphorus in synthetic fertilizer results in runoff from agricultural
land end up in water resources, which leads to eutrophication. This also effects the P
cycle, triggering to major ecological effects and environmental damage. Treatment of
sewage and waste enriches phosphorus and other nutrients. These nutrients may be
captures and provide two benefits. The treated waste would reduce the risk associated
with release of nutrients to the environment and the captured nutrients represents a
continuous source for a valuable limited natural resource (Y.Liu and J.Chen 2014).
This thesis is a theoretical study, the purpose of which is to determine possible methods and technologies for recycling phosphorus from sludge. Also to understand the
policy applied by different countries for recycling phosphorus from sludge and waste.
Since this thesis is a literature review of papers published by different authors, there is
no experimental component. Removal techniques researched in different countries for
recycling of phosphorus from sludge are compared from a critical perspective. The
countries from which the research papers are drawn range economically and geographically; they include Japan, India, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and China.
This thesis compares the different possible methods for recycling phosphorus for
sludge. The outcome of this thesis might be fascinating to reads with different backgrounds as well as waste and water treatment plants for determining the efficient way
of recycling phosphorus.
Literature Review
This chapter includes general overview about the phosphorus presence in earth and
methodology for sludge production from waste and water treatment plant. It also describes the ways in which phosphorus is consumed as well as released to the environment and atmosphere. In addition, the chapter describes the composition of nutrients in
sludge and the use of sludge for different purposes like landfill, anaerobic digester for
energy production and soil manufacture. Basically the information about phosphorus
and sludge cycle is explained in this section.
Phosphorus is an essential chemical element, which cannot be produced in laboratory
but are consumed and found in food by all living beings (Daniel et al., 2011). There are
several forms of phosphorus called white, red and black phosphorous. Although with
properties of spontaneously flammable and toxic, phosphorus is an essential element
for the survival of organism (Lenntech, 2015). Phosphorus is highly reactive; therefore,
it is used in the form of compound for extraction. Phosphate rock is major source of P.
The most important source for phosphorus mineral is apatite, Ca10F2(PO4)6 (Daniel et
al., 2011, Patyk et al., 1997)
3.1.1 Phosphorus Presence in Earth
Phosphorus is the 11th most abundant element in the earth’s crust, amounting tentatively to four quadrillion tons (Cordell et al., 2011). A non-renewable phosphate rock
take 10 -15 millions of years for its formation are mined globally (Cordell et al., 2009).
Mining for phosphorus production is increasing annually and ongoing mining operations
have many negative environmental impacts. Agriculture is the largest user of phosphorus and the primary source is mineral phosphate from mines (Shiroyama et al., 2015).
Due to depleting reserve and decline quality, the value of mineral phosphate is increasing leading to increase the cost for the fertilizer affecting the global food cost (Genevieve et al., 2015). With the current extraction of phosphate rock, and 2.3 % increase in
demand per annum, it is expected to completely use within 50-100 years. Morocco has
around 85 % of 0.007% of the total phosphorus on earth crust followed by China with
6% and USA by 3% (Cordell et al., 2009; Adhya et al. 2015; Shiroyama et al., 2015).
Figure 1. Shows physical, chemical and social factors limiting the availability for agriculture.
Figure 1. Phosphorus Bottlenecks: Physical, economic, social and ecological factors limiting
the availability of phosphorus for productive use by humans for fertilizer and hence food
production. (Cordell et Al., 2011)
3.1.2 Sources of Phosphorus
Natural source for phosphorus are mineral phosphate sequestered in the earth crust
and phosphorus in compound from cycling through environment. Phosphorus is present in regular diet of all living things. Agricultural diversion from the cycle through the
use of enriched fertilizers has been responsible for the so called green revolution. The
phosphorus nutrient used by plants and passes to higher organism. Bioaccumulation
process, products like meat, milk, beans; nuts are secondary source of phosphorus.
Living cells rely on phosphorus compound as fundamental component of DNA and tissue is linked by phosphorus compounds. The main source for human for phosphorus is
via grains, meat and vegetable. Industrial uses of phosphorus include manufacturing
products like paper packaging, textile products, detergent, personal care product as
well as newspapers (Jiwchen Wu et. al., 2015). Phosphorus is emitted from vehicles in
traffic areas, are transported by wind and deposited to water sources or soil through
rainfall (Jonathan et. al., 1990).
Phosphorus is released to water and soil from industrial wastewater treatment plant,
farmlands, and runoff due to rainfall from landfill. Agriculture fertilizers runoff is the biggest source of phosphorus in water bodies as well as municipal sewage treatment plant
is another big contributor for phosphorus into environment. Production of soil from
sludge is another source of phosphorus to environment. Runoff and leachate generated from the sludge soil directly increases the amount of phosphorus in environment.
Nutrient used for agriculture is not totally used by plants, which are carried by runoff or
disaster like soil erosion and landslide. Disasters contributing to high level of phosphorus to another location leading for adverse effect like eutrophication or over nutrient.
3.1.3 Phosphorus Cycle
Phosphorus is part of DNA-molecules, molecules that stores energy and fats of cell
membrane. Animal and human body depends upon the phosphorus for growth of certain part. Phosphorus is present in agriculture, soil, water, sediments and river catchment (Daniel et at., 2015). The Phosphorus cycle spans the phases and has stages
with geological time frames and is therefore the slowest matter cycle on the planet
(Lenntech, 2015).
Inorganic phosphorus ionic compounds are obtained from phosphate salts in rock formation and ocean sediment. Due to high polarity nature phosphate rock dissolve in
water, soil water and is absorbed by plants for photosynthesis and their growth. Since
phosphorus is a limiting agent for plant growth, fertilizers with high phosphorus content
can result in high yield in farmland which is deficient in phosphorus. Bioaccumulation is
medium in which the phosphorus cycle directly affects animals and plants. Consumed
phosphorus will be utilized and discharge as solid and liquid waste which supports the
microbial communities in the soil or is flushed via continental aquatic systems to the
ocean floor. The phosphorus rich sediment from the periodical flush of seasonal rainfall
leads for formation of sedimentary rock beneath the mass of eons of trapped material
(Y.Liu and J.Chen 2014, ; Lenntech, 2015). Figure 2 illustrates A schematic representation of the phosphorus cycle presents sources, consumption, collection, treatment
and end of life with natural process of time consuming recycling for phosphorus.
Figure 2. Schematic Representation of the Phosphorus Cycle (Lenntech, 2015)
Possible ways of Releasing of Phosphorus to Environment
This chapter covers possible ways of release of phosphorus to environment due to
directly and indirect human activities. The theoretical background of this chapter is
based on literature published on the internet and other research papers. The basic
human activities for releasing the phosphorus to environment are explained below.
3.2.1 Crop Production
Phosphorus is released and absorbed during the process of crops production. Nitrogen
and phosphorus are fertilizer used in agriculture. The impact of phosphorus from agriculture use depends on the specific crops uptake and removal parameters, and the
land characteristics such as runoff, erosion and leach ability (Andrew et, al., 1994).
During uptake and removal of crops, phosphorus concentrations from plants tissues
are recovered in range of 0.1 to 0.5% in dry mass. Crops absorb phosphorus from soil
phosphorus and from fertilizers containing phosphorus. Phosphorus concentrations
from fertilizers are more dynamic than those of natural soil sources. Concentration of
fertilizer phosphorus constantly changed in soil because of rainfall and weathering.
Rainfall infiltration and percolation can remove phosphorus from soil. Rainfall transport
leads to increase the concentration of bioavailable phosphorus in surface water. Rainfall and weathering can cause phosphorous to leach, which have an adverse effect on
phosphorus deficient soil. The losses of phosphorus from agriculture land also affected
by site-specific soil and types of cropping and tillage system (Gregory Mullins, Virginia
Tech). Figure 3. Presents the leaching of soil and effect of rainfall, weathering, and soil
erosion for phosphorus loss from top soil to nearby water resources.
Figure 3. Transport of Phosphorus from Agricultural Land to Surface Water (Gregory Mullins, Virginia Tech).
3.2.2 Livestock Rearing
Phosphorus is essential for livestock growth especially bones and teeth. It plays a role
in the proper growth of all living creature. Rumens and other plant eating stocks get
their dietary phosphorus from plant based feed. The manure produced from livestock is
significant source of emission of Phosphorus to environment (Gregory Mullins, Virginia
Tech). Manure fertilizer is very rich in phosphorus, typically having phosphorus concentration 1.4 times those necessary for healthy plant growth (Hochschule et, al., 1995).
The use of Water - Extractable Phosphorus (WEP) in manure used in agriculture in
some countries correlated well to runoff from soil. Optimal use of manure by farmer
due to the logistical and nutritional benefits, can offset and supplement the use of artificial fertilizers. with environmental loss of nutrients. Surface runoff and leachate production from stacking center are the main source for release of nutrient to environment.
Livestock manure can be defined on basis of WEP (Peter et al. 2004 and Jian et al.
3.2.3 Meat Processing
Animal’s bone and meat are great source for phosphorus. Phosphorous content in
bone and meat is 9-11% in mass percentage. Animal waste from meat processing is
source of 1.1 % of phosphorus. Bone and waste meat are not consumed for other animal feed as well as fertilizer. It is left for biomass formation because of health risk and
hygienic reasons. Disposal of meat and bone in incineration plant, phosphorus ended
in waste likes ashes that made difficult for recovery. Use of the ashes for manufacturing cement removes phosphorus from natural cycle. The biomass or manure with high
nutrient value ended up in farmland which leaches runs off to affect local water resources (Daniel et al. 2011).
3.2.4 Sewage and Waste Management
Sewage and industrial effluents are considered are the major sources for phosphorus
input to water bodies. Phosphorus is transported in form of dissolved and particulate
phosphorus (Helen and Paul, 2006). Artificial products, personal care products, bulky
goods and packing cardboard are source for phosphorus in sewage and waste
(Jiechen and Maria, 2015).
Sewage effluents from treatment plant, septic tanks are released to environment, which
reacts with soils microbes, and enrich the soil with phosphorus compound. During the
flood, soil erosions, surface runoff the nutrient contents are released to water bodies.
Waste treatment facilities are big source of phosphorus to environment. Landfill and
incineration convert phosphorus from one state to another. Leachate generated from
landfill are the big contributor for metals ions and as well as nutrient. Surface Runoff
(SR) and rainfall can make flow of nutrients to water bodies nearby and affect the
aquatic environment (Kouassi et al. 2016 and Manimaran et al 1997). Waste incinerated converts waste to ashes that need to be disposed to landfill or chemical treatment
facilities. The disposed ashes consist of same percentage of phosphorus, which can be
released to environment through SR and storm water with high potential of recovery
(Daniel et al, 2011).
Effect of Phosphorus on Environment
Eutrophication is a consequence of naturally high levels of nutrient in freshwater and
coastal marine systems. Algae plumes flourish in nutrient rich environments negatively
affecting water quality and leading to oxygen deletion and impaired aquatic ecosystem
services and economic damage. Nutrient levels in water are driving elements for Eutrophication (Chen and Graedel, 2016).
Nutrients are transported from agricultural land through SR, agricultural runoff. The
decomposition of phosphorus leads to an unnatural ecosystem within the contaminated
sediment. The sedimentation is source for the nuisance phytoplankton as well as algae
(Helen et al., 2005).
Phosphorus is considered as main contributor for eutrophication of surface water according to European Union (EU) Water Frame- work Directive (WFD). Growth of algae
is supported by high water temperature, water resident time and abundant light level
during growth season from spring to early autumn (Helen et al., 2005). Human activities and industrial revolution, mostly from agricultural sources has steadily increased
the demand of phosphorus. SR, leaching, other waste handling process phosphorus
reaches the surface water affects the ecosystem which responds by sequestering the
nutrients in sediment layers. The sediment and unnatural ecosystem supports represents a self- renewing contamination sources that spoils aquatic resources and require
long periods of time to remediate (Cordell et al., 2009; Adhya et al. 2015; Shiroyama et
al., 2015).
3.3.1 Eutrophication Process
According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), “the process by which a body of
water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates.
These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose,
high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of
available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is
a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up
on:] Figure 4. Graphical flowchart for
eutrophication process.
Figure 4. Process of Eutrophication. (TutorVista, N. D.)
Online []
Due to human and agricultural activities, nutrient levels are increasing in topsoil. SR
and discharge of effluent from sewage, levels of nutrient at water bodies is increasing.
The high concentration of nutrient levels leads to unnaturally large algae plumes in
affected bodies of water. Rapid growth of algae leads to high respiration of dissolved
oxygen (DO). Algae bloom causes releases to toxic compound and noxious gases
such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia. These affects water quality and turbidity. Additional SR, the more favorable condition is generated for algae growth. The growth of Algae
decreases the sunlight penetration to surface of water as a result it affects the aquatic
vegetation. Death of vegetation leads to increase of organic load. Increase of organic
load positively affects microbial respiration of DO which when consumed results in a
dead zone in higher life form (Akpor et al., 2015).
3.3.2 Effect of Eutrophication
The water surface is considered as eutrophic if the total phosphorus (TP) concentration
is high than 0.02mg/L and total nitrogen (TN) level above 0.5 mg/L (Hua-peng et al.,
2013). As the limit value for TN and TP increases the eutrophic effect is observed on
water bodies. As an effect, the thick algae bloom is observed that causes more organic
mass. Level of DO concentration is decreased. Main effects observed from eutrophication are increased biomass, depletion of DO, odor and color of water, decrease in water transparency and decreased the aquatic biodiversity.
3.3.3 Effect on Bioaccumulation
Fisheries and aquaculture are an important sources of protein in many populations.
Eutrophication has a negative effect on the quality and quantity of fish and aquatic
products. The high levels of nutrient in aquatic animal subject to eutrophic waters can
be toxic if consumed by human beings (Chhatra, 2015). Reduced quality of fishery
product and seafood is a consequence of bioaccumulation and the presence of algal
toxins present in eutrophic water bodies.
Algae secrete organic metabolites with trace of toxic elements. Lakes and surface water are also considered as drinking water source in many countries. Direct consumption
of eutrophic water or fisheries product from lakes and river can affect the health of
people. And the presence of eutrophic condition is harmful to the established aquatic
environment. The potential for human and animals to be exposed to toxins in water
requires regular monitoring and enforcement of quality standards (Piotr and Barbar,
3.3.4 Health Risk of Eutrophication
Nutrient and organic pollutant flow to water sources through SR. Physical, chemical
and biological aspect of water is changed due to organic load. Physical and chemical
characteristics make the suitable condition for biological growth of coliforms, pathogens, and virus adding with high level of nutrient level in water (Kouassi et al., 2015).
The water consumed form eutrophic water source can cause the water bone diseases
in human health and loss of aquatic vegetation. Figure 4 shows; the invertebrates don’t
have suitable environment for survival. The eutrophic poisons also may affect people
through bioaccumulation of small invertebrate fish and filter feeding fishes to bigger
predatory fish and finally the consumption of those fish by humans. (Piotr and Barbar,
Intake of phosphorus in different form has adverse impacts on cardiovascular and bone
health on human begins. Consumption level of Phosphorus varies according to age
group of people for growth of tissue and bone. Although phosphorus is important nutrient for human tissue and bone, excess consumption for long period of time phosphorus
could be connected to tissue damage. The increase consumption of industrial products
adding up eutrophic water source could lead to health issue like cardiovascular diseases as well as impacting kidney function (Calvo and Uribarri, 2013). Calvo and Uribarri
(2013) studied regular direct and indirect consumption of phosphorus can induce secondary hyperparathyroidism and bone loss.
Phosphorus Treatment Technologies
This chapter covers the physical, chemical and biological treatment method for phosphorus from municipal and industrial wastewater. This chapter aims to provide the
general overview of phosphorus removal process.
4.1.1 Filtration for Particulate Phosphorus
The organic solids consist of 2-3 % of P (Strom, 2006). Filtrations process with granular
media is used in water and wastewater treatment technology is used for removal of
total suspended solid particles (Storm, 2006 & Tchobanoglous et al., 2003). Contact
filtration process followed by chemicals for coagulation is highly efficient in removing
the suspended solid particle, nutrients and stabilize the algae growth (Micheal et al.,
4.1.2 Membrane Technology
Membrane bioreactor and reverse osmosis are suggested the current reliable membrane technology for removing phosphorus from total suspended solid. According to
Strom (2006) the membrane technology also can remove the dissolved phosphorus
from influent. Physical method of treatment is much more expensive than chemical and
biological methods although the efficiency of removal of dissolved phosphorus is high
(Jayawardana et al., 2015).
Chemical treatment methodology for removal of phosphorus from water and
wastewater treatment facilities has developed over a long period of time. The process
involves the addition of compounds of calcium, aluminum and iron. Chemical are added on feed to primary clarifier and sedimentation clarifier (Minnesota Pollution Control
Agency (MPCA), 2006). Sludge production increases by 40% and 26% in the primary
treatment process and activated sludge plants respectively using the chemical treatment (Strom 2006, MPCA, 2006).
According to MPCA report, a dose of 1.0 mole of aluminum compound is sufficient per
mole of phosphorus. The pH value plays another important role in removal for P using
the aluminum or other salt compound. pH range from 5 to 7 and 6.5 to 7.5 for aluminum and ferric salt respectively is important to maintain of solution to stop precipitates
to dissolve into solution. Aluminum compound makes it highly useable due to its less
corrosive nature than ferric chloride.
Chemical treatment technique is mostly study method for and effective for removable of
suspended and dissolved solid particles. However, the cost of chemical and sludge
handling is expensive. The process is complex and the effluent quality is 0.05 mg/L of
TSS particle (Storm, 2006 & Tchobanoglous et al., 2003).
Another chemical technique, Gas Concrete, was used to remove the phosphate from
aqueous solution. The advantage of this process was its functioning capability at low
pH and with the potential to recycle the recovered phosphate (Oguz et al., 2003).
Phosphorus removal from wastewater is obtained with natural biological process. Natural system uses phosphorus from wastewater back to natural cycle in environment.
Natural systems are practiced in small wastewater production community and local
system. Use of activated algae, growing of algae in small wastewater treatment plant
helps to obtain 95 % of removal phosphorus from wastewater (Stanislaw, 1998). Constructions of artificial and natural wetland are practiced method for removal of phosphorus from wastewater. The advantage of this system is no additional sludge, low
maintenance and cost. Wetland organism accumulates phosphorus and removal of
phosphorus is low from wastewater. It is suggested to treatment before and after the
water is passed through wetland for efficient removal of phosphorus (Levin et al 1965
and Stainslaw, 1998).
Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) process to activate the sludge system for removal of phosphorus with the effect of polyphosphate accumulating organism
(PAO). The process is implement and efficient in anaerobic rather than aerobic digester
(Metcalf & Eddy, 2003). This process has high potential of achieving 0.1mg/L of P level
in effluent at modest cost and minimum sludge. The phosphate concentration in sludge
produced from EBPR is 5-3% more than non-EBPR sludge (Storm, 2006 &
Tchobanoglous et al., 2003). The Phosphate is accumulated within the cells of microbes. The biomass is separated from the digester, later the phosphorus accumulating
microbes are processed and phosphorus is recovered. The cyanobacteria and microalgae shows dual role of bioremediations and recovery of phosphorus. Another effective
effect of microbes is also identified having high bioremediation capabilities (Krishna,
2016). The wastewater sludge produced in EBPR is bulky and mostly contaminated
with heavy metals, harmful pathogens and toxic substance which interferes with crops
growth so, it is not recommended to use directly as agricultural fertilizer (Sartorius et
al., 2012, and Yuan et al., 2012).
This chapter includes the background information about the sludge production and
composition. Sludge extraction process from waste and water treatment facilities and
discuss the possibility use for sludge to fulfill future need demand of nutrients and artificial soil formation.
Sludge Source
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) indicates wastewater treatment facilities are the biggest source for sludge production. Increasing demand of water and production of high wastewater are main source for sludge production. Yan Wu et al.,
(2016) reported sewage sludge containing of 90% of water is increasing. Treatment
facilities remove the solids particles from inflow wastewater to system. Sludge is produced in each step of water treatment facilities. Management of sludge in treatment
facilities is one of the biggest issues in industrial and municipal water treatment plant.
Human excreta, industrial waste are main solid component present in wastewater responsible for high organic and nutrients value in Sludge (Yan Wu et al., 2016). Present
study shows that the sludge is produced also from treatment of storm water, which is
less organic in compared to wastewater sludge (UNEP).
Sludge Composition
Sludge composition varies according to waste–water treatment plants according to
different geographical location and treatment methodology. Protein, carbohydrate, lipid
are organic component and inorganic compound like heavy metals are present in
Sludge. Sludge is composed for 50-70% of volatile organic compound (VOC). Different
nutrients are linked with protein and lipid chain. Sewage sludge can emit greenhouse
gases if they are not properly treated (Meiyan et al., 2015). Vasiliki et al., (2016) reported 99 emerging organic contaminants (EOC) are present in sludge. After the chemical analysis for pharmaceuticals, it is observed contaminates like synthetic phenolic
compounds, siloxanes, caffeine, per fluorinated compounds and toxic hydrocarbon.
Presence of different organic component can alter the soil’s microbial community and
functioning. Presence of inorganic compound in sludge makes it favorable for fertilization (Eva et al., 2016).
Phosphorus is concentrated in dried sewage sludge is approximately 4 % of total mass
and after the incineration of the sludge the percentage increases to 10 (EU, P-REX
Policy). Hence, recovering the phosphorus from sludge has high potential.
Sludge Extraction Process
Municipal wastewater is mixture of human waste, debris, suspended solid particles and
chemical waste from industries like paper and pulp, paints (Kouassi et al., 2016). Figure 5 describes the graphical representation on sludge extraction process in municipal
wastewater and water treatment plant.
Figure 5. Flow diagram for sludge extraction process from Municipal Water Treatment Plant
via activated sludge process and external membrane bioreactor. (A. Drew et al., 2005)
According to European Statistic the dry sludge produced per capita is 90gm (Meiyan et
al., 2014). The composition of organic compound percentage is different in different
stage. The volatile organic compound concentration in primary sludge (PS) is higher
that digested sludge (DS) from anaerobic digester (Meiyan et al., 2014, Eva et al., 2016
and A. Drew et al., 2005).
Sludge Treatment
Sewage sludge undergoes the biological, chemical or thermal treatment to decrease
effects of toxins, VOCs, other chemical release to environment. Sludge is treated using
as nutrients in agricultural land to minimize the health hazard and bioaccumulation in
food chain (FAO). Table 1 presents the effective sludge treatment processes in the
United Kingdom (UK) before the sludge is used in agricultural field.
Table 1. Effective sludge treatment processes (Water Research Centre, 1989). It published on Second Edition of a ‘Manual of good Practice on Soil Injection of Sewage
Sludge Pasteuri- Minimum of 30 minutes at 70°C or minimum of 4 hours at 55° C
(or appropriate intermediate conditions), followed in all cases by
primary mesophilic anaerobic digestion
An- Mean retention period of at least 12 days primary digestion in
aerobic Digestion temperature range 35°C +/- 3°C or of at least 20 days primary
digestion in temperature range 25°C + /- 3°C followed in each
case by a secondary stage which provides a mean retention period of at least 14 days
Mean retention period of at least 7 days’ digestion. All sludge to
Diges- be subject to a minimum of 55°C for a period of at least 4 hours
The compost must be maintained at 40°C for at least 5 days and
or for 4 hours during this period at a minimum of 55°C within the
Aerated Piles)
body of the pile followed by a period of maturation adequate to
ensure that the compost reaction is substantially complete
Stabiliza- Addition of lime to raise pH to greater than 12.0 and sufficient to
tion of Liquid ensure that the pH is not less than 12 for a minimum period of 2
hours. The sludge can then be used directly
Liquid Storage
Storage of untreated liquid sludge for a minimum period of 3
and Conditioning of untreated sludge with lime or other coagulants
followed by dewatering and storage of the cake for a minimum
period of 3 months if sludge has been subject to primary mesophilic anaerobic digestion, storage to be for a minimum period of
14 days
Uses of Sludge
Different composition of organic and inorganic compound in sludge makes it valuable.
The sludge from treatment plant is used as a nutrients fertilizer on soil for agricultural
soil. Tiago et al., (2009) explained sludge deposition in agriculture land is less expensive method and also helps to improve the soil nutrient level. Levels of nutrient, organic
compound and microbial activities have higher hazardous impact than benefit to soil
with nutrients level (Vasiliki et al., 2016 and Tiago et al., 2009). The toxic elements level is observed before sludge is used for making agricultural soil according to standard
of Council of the European Communities 196 directive No. 86/278/EEC. This directive
prohibits the sludge disposal in agricultural land unless required level of different toxic,
nutrient level is maintained (FAO, Agricultural Use of sewage sludge).
The reuse of sludge rather than depositing it to landfill reduces the negative impact on
environment (Mohanned et al., 2016 and Meiyan et al., 2014). Meiyan et al (2014) reported dried sewage sludge is used as alternative feedstock for power generation via
incineration. Hence this could be used for energy mitigation although there is the lack
of knowledge for combustion value for dried sludge. The sludge is used for construction
of road material and brink manufacturing (Mohanned et al., 2016). The presence of
high organic matter in dried sewage makes high calorific value in sludge, which is used
in incineration plant. The fly ash and industrial blast- furnace slags can contribute to
cement manufacturing with reducing the CO2 emission. The cement composition can
be changed 10% of treated sludge, 85 % clinker and 5 % gypsum (Mohanned et al.,
2016 and Raifu et al., 2012).
Methods and Possibilities for Recycling of Phosphorus from Sludge
This Chapter includes the possible method for recycling the phosphorus from sludge.
The chapter is based literature review from research work around the globe. The data
and methodology are based on the research papers that give overall view for the experimental procedure. The potential of recovering 15% phosphorus from Municipal
sewage sludge was reported by Van Dijk et al N.D.
Polyphosphate Accumulating Microalgae and Cyanobacteria (Bio extraction)
Microalgae species like Chlorella sp., Scenedesmus Microalgae and Cyanobacteria
species like Aphanothece sp., Spirulina sp., Arthrospira sp., and Phormidium sp, are
used in removing the nutrients from the wastewater. Cyanobacteria are microorganism
that grow and uptake inorganic phosphorus and store it within their cells as poly -P
granules. Cyanobacteria and algae can cope with unfavorable conditions like salt
stress, osmotic stress, UV-radiation and fluctuations of pH and temperature in the environment (Achbergerova and Nahalka, 2011; Ray et al., 2013). According to Ray et al.,
(2013), microalgae and cyanobacteria not only are used for P removal from wastewater
but phosphorus in poly - P in their cell can be used the release the phosphorus to the
soil as bio-fertilizer. Bio-fertilizer, releases of phosphorus depend upon the phosphorus- solubilizing organism (PSO) present in soil. PSO makes this process slow and
steady making supply of phosphorus for crops reducing the excess supply of P and
also reduced the loss because of the soil run-off.
According to the experiment performed by Krishna Ray 2016, West Bengal University,
microalgae and cyanobacteria were used for soluble phosphorus in parboiled rice effluent and its remediation. 5 g biomass of 25 days old culture of cyanobacteria was
cultured in 15-liter ml of effluents and incubated for 24 days at 28 °C under 12:12h
light: dark condition. Poly-p was extracted and quantified from equal dry weight of cyanobacteria and microalgae cell after 24 days. The soluble phosphorus level was observed and recorded on interval of 3 days for 21 days. Data obtained was used for calculating the percentage removal of phosphorus from the effluent using confocal microscope and fluoresce to indicate the presence of polyphosphate. After 21 days, the microalgae and cyanobacteria was harvested and dried.
The biomass was weight from 5 g to 50 g after the bioremediation of effluent. 84mg of
poly-p out of initial 175 mg of soluble phosphorus was obtained by average microalgae
and cyanobacteria. Algae and cyanobacteria were observed under confocal microscope. The presence of polyphosphate was indicated by yellowish green fluorescence
where as cell without poly -p emitted blue fluorescence. The percentage of recovery
was 48 % and worth valve of €24 million in West Bengal only.
The biomass obtained from cyanobacteria and microalgae were mixed with 5 kg of
non-sterile soil maintain pH of 7.13 in separate pots. Soil was also mixed with 575 mg
of superphosphate and NPK (20:20:13). Soil decomposers degrade the biomass added
to non-sterile soil and its poly-p reservoir is exposed. PSOs release the organic acid
and phosphatases from poly - p reservoir, slow but steady increases of soluble P content in soil over 45 days. Figure 1 in Appendix 1 shows that the P is released from biomass from initial 10 days. The entire process is also depending on available of soil microbe to decay the microalgae and cyanobacteria (Ray, 2016).
The advantage of this technique can be applied to the wastewater produced after dewatering of sludge. Dewatering process is source of soluble phosphorus, organic compounds and toxic elements. Microalgae and cyanobacteria uptake poly - p granules
under unfavorable conditions like acidic pH, temperature from wastewater. The biomass produced after harvesting microbes can be directly used in agriculture as bio
fertilizer for crop growth.
Recovery Method of Phosphorus from Sewage Sludge Ash (SSA)
Sewage Sludge Ash is the form of slag and dust produced from thermal utilization (incineration) of sewage produced from municipal waste and water treatment plant.
(KAtarzyna et al., 2016). The sludge- waste having phosphorus compounds present in
form of insoluble phosphate have potential to be recovered and substitute for natural
ore by thermal processing. Only in EU, 0.6 million tons of sewage sludge ash per year
is produced which in counts 10-21% of whole sludge amount (Nowak et al., 2012).
Different parameters of sludge must be taken into consideration while extracting the
phosphorus and also is important to use appropriate method for recovery since, the
chemical composition depends upon treatment method used in the water treatment
plant. Coagulation agent changes the chemical composition used for phosphorus compound precipitation. The important parameter focused during the recovery methods is
the presence of heavy metals (HM) (Gorazada et al., 2012 and Nowak et al., 2012).
The composition of SSA is dependent on the type of the thermal utilization used. The
best available technology for incinerating sludge to recover phosphorus is in a fluidized
bed technology and grate furnace technology. Gorazada et al., (2012) reported the
disadvantage of incineration in fluidized bed is low temperature of 850 °C used that is
high enough to eliminate the pathogen, organic compounds and stabilize the waste but
iron present in sludge forms a calcium –iron phosphate, which make it recovery and
handling process difficult. But at 950°C, iron contained in ash is converted into a hematite form that is insoluble in mineral acid (Gorazada et al., 2012). The methods of
phosphorus recovery from SSA can be achieved from wet extraction and thermochemical methods.
6.2.1 Wet Extraction for Sewage Sludge Ash
Wet extraction method involves the leaching of SSA with acids and bases. The parameter to be considered during extraction process are type and concentration of acids and
bases, pH values, detention time, and temperature on incineration temperature.
 Acidic leaching is performed with sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid,
phosphoric acid, critic and oxalic acid (Biswas et al., 2009 and Gorazda et al.,
 Basic Leaching is done with Sodium Hydroxide (Biswas et al., 2009).
 Supercritical fluid extraction of ashes from supercritical water oxidation (Stark et
al., 2006)
 Acid and Basic Leaching for SSA
Katartyna et al., (2016), reported the phosphorus recovery process with wet extraction
method for acid take place within 2 h using of 2.7 mol dm-3(HNO3). Experiment was
carried out in laboratory scale from samples obtained from incineration plant. Samples
were continuously mixed in the reactor with constant velocity and continuous pH, temperature and phosphorus was determined. After 2 hours of extraction process the solutions and sediments were analyzed for metals and phosphorus using X-ray power diffraction. Phosphorus was determined using the spectrophotometric method and metal
were determined atomic absorption spectrometry.
Result from Katartyna et al., (2016) suggest the phosphorus concentration was leached
from ash to the solution during nitric acid extraction. Recovery phosphorus for different
samples were obtained maximum with in 30 minutes of leaching. The factor affecting
the leaching of calcium phosphate is concentration of nitric acid used or leaching and
presence of iron and aluminum during coagulating in primary and secondary basin. The
leaching is also affect by the sludge ash from different waste and sludge from different
sources incinerated. The efficiency for extraction using SSA for fluidized bed technology was 3 times more efficient that grate furnace technology. 90% of phosphorus was
recovered for some samples using nitric acid extraction. The greatest advantage of this
technology is extracts can be used for fertilizer is crops production, the extracts contain
high micronutrients and the level of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium were limited. Phosphorus extraction was varied depending upon the extraction
acid and base and also dependent upon the SSA production from incinerated plant.
The removal of phosphorus from SSA must take in account the method of waste and
water treatment plants during chemical and biological treatment with iron and aluminum
Table 2 compares the recovery method of phosphorus from sewage sludge ash using
wet extraction methods using sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, potassium
hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, calcium oxide and presents obtained product in form
phosphorus compound.
Table 2. A comparison of Phosphorus Recovery from Sewage Sludge Ash with wet
extraction method.
Wet Extraction Methods
(Chemical Used)
SSA leaches with Sulfuric acid that AlPO4
make extracted solution pH value Ca3(PO4)2
of 1.5. Sodium hydroxide is used
to neutralize the solution and the H3PO4
precipitation is formed of aluminum
phosphate. Advanced method is
used to separate the heavy metals
by dissolution of AlPO4 with
NaOH. Extracts can also be treated on ion exchange columns.
SSA is treated with nitric acid and Calcium
phosphoric acid and leachate pro- Phosphate
duced is treated with calcium oxide
to produce calcium phosphate.
8% Hydrochloric acid is used for Magnesium
leaching the SSA. Liquid- Liquid or calcium
extraction using tri-n-butyl phos- phosphate
phate was used to obtained high
phosphorus against iron recovery.
Phosphorus precipitation was obtained form extraction solution.
Acid Leaching
Acidic leaching leads to phospho- Calcium
rus transformation of Aluminum - Phosphate
Phosphorus form. Treating the
precipitate with basic extractant.
Phosphorus compound is formed
after basic treatment.
Basic Leaching Treating SSA with basic (KOH and Potassium
and NaOH) Intermediate liquid fertilizer Phosphate
is obtained and final step the pre- and calcium
cipitation is treated with milk lime phosphate.
to produce liquid Potassium Phosphate and calcium phosphate.
Schaum et
al. 2013
et al., 2010
Dittrich et
al., 2009
Petzet et
al., 2012
Products produced from the wet exaction process are high phosphorus compound and
solid residues. Solid waste recovered from the process can be used for construction
material like cement factory due to presence of Gypsum. Gypsum sums 20% of composition for cement manufacturing. Solids residual after processing could be used for
aggregates, micro-filers, special blends (Mohanned et al., 2016). The obtained phosphorus product from wet extraction are classified as solution fertilizer. This solution
fertilizer can be used for agricultural purpose of crops growth and leaf sprays after neutralization process to pH 7. (Gorazda et al., 2016).
Factors affecting the efficiency of recovery depends upon source of the sludge, temperature for incinerating, residence time and temperature in the furnace effect the
quartz structure of SSA. Heating the sludge for long time in high temperature leads to
formation of quartz appearance which creates more resistant on the extraction because
of lower surface area for contact with acid and base. As a result, the phosphorus remains in solid residue (Dittrich et al., 2009 and Gorazda et al., 2016).
The best and most popular extractant for wet extraction process are sulfuric acid and
hydrochloric acid. Because of it low cost and high efficiency of removal of phosphate in
leachate up to 99%, it is the most popular method (Biswas et al., 2009). The presence
of heavy metal in SSA needs an additional treatment step which can be removed by
methods like metal remover in form of sulphides via precipitation method, liquid-liquid
extraction and as well as ion exchange. Using of acid for wet extraction process, by
products like gypsum (Calcium chloride) is produced. Biswas et al., (2009) and Gorazda et al., (2012) reported the leaching efficiency is reduced by 30% if the extractant
is used base. High dissolved phosphorus compound were obtained from extraction of
acid and base, where as the solid residue was rich in hematite, quartz, magnesioferrite,
Berlinite (Gorazda et al., 2012).
 Supercritical fluid extraction of ashes from supercritical water oxidation followed
by Acid and base extraction
Acid and base extraction process is also applied on the residual produced from the
Super Critical Water Oxidation to recover the phosphorus. Sludge incinerated by supercritical water oxidation produce the ash and residual with different property than
normal incinerated Ash (Ginder et al, 2000). The Supercritical Water Oxidation reactions is performed at pressure of 275 bars and temperature between 400 and 600 °C.
The advantage of incineration of sludge using super critical water oxidation method
leads to loss of high percentage of organic material from sludge (Stark et al.,2006).
Experiment carried by Stark et al., (2006), SCWO residual was leached with acid, hydrochloric acid and base, sodium hydroxide. Experimental result suggests leaching
with acid dissolves metals and phosphorus to form homogenous solution. Using the
base extraction method, dissolves phosphorus product with low concentration of metal.
So the extraction of phosphorus could be achieved with high efficiency. The experiment
was carried out from the ash and residual received from 4 different incinerating plant
from Sweden. The Figures 6. presents the recover percentage of phosphorus from
incinerated and SCWO residuals and Figure 7. Presents percentage of phosphorus
leaching from SCWO residue using sodium hydroxide base.
Figure 6. Recovered percentage of Phosphate from leaching ash and supercritical water oxidation residuals with HCL (Stark et al. 2006)
Figure 7. Recovery of Phosphorus from SCWO residual using NaOH (Stark and Hultman,
From figure 7. The sludge samples were taken from two different wastewater treatment
plant. Run 1-3 was from Karlskoga and run 4 from Bromma Water treatment plant.
SCWO residual samples were leached with concentrated NaOH. Run 1-3 the optimum
recovery was observed at 5 M and run 4 sample was observed at 2 M. The recovery
percentage form figure 7 presents the relation between sludge type and revovery percentage.
The final recovery of phosphorus from leachate is precipitated with calcium addition.
Stark and Hultman (2003) reported (figure 1 in Appendix 2) the increasing concentration of NaOH for precipitation can cause calcium iron or calcium aluminum and different
species other than calcium phosphate. The best appropriate concentration for recovery
of phosphorus is between 0.5 M and 1 M NaOH (Stark and Hultman, 2003).
Leaching percentage of Phosphorus is higher with acid than base as seen in the figures 6 and 7. The advantage of using the base in stead of acid is the low production of
metal contamination of leaching and using base, the calcium binding capacity for phosphorus is higher and obtained product is in form of calcium phosphate, which can be
used as fertilizer directly after neutralizing. The disadvantage of using the base is decrease phosphorus recovery from leachate with increasing concentration of base.
6.2.2 Thermo Chemical Methods for Phosphorus recovery from Ash
Thermo chemical method involve use of SSA mixed with chlorine and water. The mixture is presses to form pellets. Pellets are heated to melting point temperature of ash in
reactor. The temperature of mixture is maintained 900-1050 °C that results for formation of volatile metal chloride and bioavailable form of phosphorus compound in ash.
All the organic residuals are destroyed due to high temperature. All metal chloride
formed due reaction of chlorine donor compound and heavy metals evaporates and
makes the ash decontaminated (Nowak et al. 2010, Jingyong et al., 2015).
Nowak et al., (2010) reported 92% Cadmium, 83% Cupper and 22% Zinc was eliminated from the contaminated sewage sludge ash using calcium chloride. The disadvantage of this system is recovery of heavy metals from gas cleaning system. The experiment performed by Nowak et al., (2010) suggests factor affecting the removal of
heavy metal from SSA are temperature, longer resident time, concentration of chlorine
and high gas velocity. Amount of additional chlorinating agent increases the removal
rate of heavy metals and removal depends upon the type of chlorinating agent. Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride have high chlorinating capacity for volatilization of
heavy metal than sodium chloride (Jingyong et al., 2015).
The obtained product from this method are ash with high concentration of calcium and
phosphorus concentration. Obtained ash can be used as a raw phosphate rock substitute since phosphorus compound is in bioavailable form. After removal of heavy metal
from the sludge, can be used directly to agricultural. The removal of organic due to high
temperature makes ash composition with high phosphorus percentage. Mixing of ash
and natural phosphorus mixture highly feasible for manufacturing phosphoric acid
(Hideaki and Masaru 2015, Nowak et al., 2012).
6.3.1 Nanofiltration in Diafilration Mode
Phosphorus recovery during nanofiltration process is performed from pretreated sewage sludge. Heavy metals are removed from the solution using nanofilters and phosphorus was recovered from the permeate solution. The process is totally depending
upon the type of sludge, pH of pretreated sludge and pressured applied for filtration.
Therese et al., (2015) reported diaflitration system would increase the yield of phosphorus. The experiment performed by Therese et al., was a laboratory scale.
This is an experimental procedure for recovering the Phosphorus according to Therese
et al., (2015).
Initially, sewage sludge was pretreated to dissolve the phosphorus and heavy mental
present in sludge suitable for nanofiltration. Sludge was diluted with 33% of deionized
water per 100 ml sludge. Sulphuric acid is added 1.5ml per 100 mL of sludge to maintain pH of 1.5. Acidic condition was maintained to dissolve phosphorus into solution
and this also result for dissolving of heavy metals. The leachate produced from addition
of acid was separated and coarse filtration followed by ultrafiltration was performed to
remove the solid particles. The leachate and solution obtained after coarse filtration
was used for nanofiltration experiment. The composition of permeate was determined
by triplicating analysis with coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. The permeate had 820 mg/L of phosphorus concentration.
The experiment was carried out to compare the different nanofiltation membrane. The
cross flow velocity was set to 1.6m/s, temperature to 20 °C and pressure was change
from 5 -15 bar to identify the effect on separation. All the parameters for the experiment
were controlled. After the single phase filtration, permeate was collected until the retentate volume was reached to 120 ml, 50% from Initial volume. The retentate volume was
diluted to initial volume of feed, pH was maintained using sulfuric acid to 1.5. the process was repeated 3 times and permeate was collected and analyzed. The membranes
were dried at 105 °C for a day and analyzed using scanning electron microscope for
phosphorus concentration and heavy metals. Plasma optical emission spectroscopy
was used for determining the concentration of phosphorus in permeate.
Therese et al., (2015) reported nanofiltration in difafilration achieved up to 85% of
phosphorus recovery. Metal retention valve in membrane increase with lower pH than
1.5, decreasing the phosphorus recovery. The method of recovery for phosphorus have
high investment cost and expenses for chemicals.
6.3.2 Low Pressure Wet Oxidation and Nanofiltration
The recovery of phosphorus is done through sludge samples from WWTP. Phosphorus
is recovered from sludge with wet oxidation extraction process and nanofiltration. Insoluble phosphorus is dissolved by wet oxidation process using acid and nanofiltration
system was used for separation.
The procedure for recovering of phosphorus was experimented by Christoph et al.,
Sludge samples were allowed to settle for 24 hours for achieving certain thickening to
determine the concentration of solids. Experiment was performed in titanium lined
batch reactors of 10 L volume of gas injection stirrers. Reaction time was set to 1-4
hours, 4-6 L sludge was used and 160-200 °C was maintained. Sulphuric acid was
used for maintain pH of 2. The sludge was heated in the reactor.
The effluent from reactor was passed through the cooling line dropping effluent temperature to 30 °C, suspended solid particles were separated using ceramic ultra filtration with transmembrane pressure difference of 2.1 bar, cross flow velocity of 4m/s.
Permeate was used for nanofiltration for recovery of phosphorus.
Analysis of phosphorus concentration was performed using spectroscopic method. The
recovery percentage from this method as reported by Christoph et al. (2012) is 54% in
Comparison of recovery methods
The main purpose of this thesis was to identify and determine the possiable technique
for recycling of phosphorus from sludge. The recycling of phosphorus is done through
different process such as bio extraction, wet extraction, SCWO and nanofiltration. Table 3. Illustrates a comparison of all methods presented in this thesis in terms of efficiency, time, limiting agents as well as advantage and disadvantages of methods.
Table 3. Comparison of Phosphorus recovery methods.
Phosphorus Limiting Factors
Bio - Extrac- Algae
Dewatering of 48(Average)
from 45-50
80 - 90
sludge (SSA)
tion process
in Solution
50 - 70*
Level of inorganic P
followed by calcium
oxide for precipitating phosphorus in
80- 95*
SCWO resid- 90(Calcium
ual (SSA)
Precipitation) Metal /phosphorus
ratio in SSA
50 – 90*
98 (Calcium
Percentage of released phosphate from Leaching Ash
Percentage recovery of P using calcium precipitation from leachates solution
Percentage recovery of P using calcium precipitation from leachates solution
78 -90
pH of solution, per-
centage of water in
sludge and type of
Low pressure Sludge
membrane used for
wet oxidation
In order to select the appropriate method for recovering the phosphorus from sludge it
is also important to understand the cost and timing required for different experiment.
Table 4 presents the advantage and disadvantages of experimental processes presented in this thesis.
Table 4. Advantage and disadvantage of method for recycling phosphorus from sludge.
Algae and Cyanobacteria The recovery time is long
Combat unfavorable condi- and totally depends upon
Bio- extraction
tion like salt stress, osmotic micro organism. The PAO
stress, UV radiation, pH. are important for dischargMethod is Inexpensive.
Wet Extraction
ing to soil.
Phosphorus recovery time The recovered phosphorus
from leachate is low. Incin- compound needs further
erating waste with sludge treatment before utilization
reduces waste for landfill for agricultural purpose or
and recovery percentage of commercial purpose.
phosphorus is high.
The method is expensive
since heavy metals are
also needed to be treated.
Thermochemical Process
High percentage removal, Necessary
low recovery time of 2 cleaning system for heavy
hours, zero waste produc- metal. Expensive method
Phosphorus recovered in soluble form in permeate
to implement system and
chemicals requirement.
Recovered phosphorus of Expensive method for rehigh purity, low retention covering, Membrane foultime.
ing, Separate handling of
Possible Uses for Recycles Phosphorus and the Side Products
This chapter includes the possible use areas for recycled phosphorus from sludge.
Phosphors recovered from extraction process are mainly used for agricultural and personal products like detergent, manufacturing of phosphoric acid. The chapter also focused on the uses of side products generated, which is raw material for industrial process like construction industry.
Agricultural Fertilizer
Krishna (2016) reported use of polyphosphate granule accumulation by microalgae and
cyanobacteria can directly used in agricultural field as source of phosphorus for crops
production. The role of PSOs plays an important role for utilization recovered phosphorus from dried microalgae and cyanobacteria. In addition to fertilizer, microalgae and
cyanobacteria play a role for bioremediation and recovery of phosphorus which was
wasted due to uncontrolled use of artificial phosphorus fertilizer. Biomass produced can
be used as bio-fertilizer for crop growth. The advantage of using poly-p biomass obtained from sludge is slow release of phosphorus at constant rate to the commercial
fertilizer that discharge phosphorus rapidly after used in agriculture land.
The precipitation obtained from wet extraction of sludge can be used for crops growth
after neutralization. Liquid calcium phosphate obtained form basic wet extraction of
SSA is good fertilizer with ability to neutralize the acidic soil (Biswas et al., 2009). Ash
produced after thermochemical method is a source for high calcium and phosphorus
concentration that is suitable to substitute for raw phosphate (Nowak et al., 2012). The
phosphorus obtained from nanofiltration can be used directly for as solution fertilizer
(Christoph et al., (2012).
Construction and Industrial Applications
SSA is composed of oxides, metals, and quartz structure. Silicon oxide, Aluminum oxide, calcium oxide, ferrous oxide, magnesium oxide and phosphorus pent oxide are
main component of SSA. Clinker, Limestone and gypsum are three main components
for composition of cements. Dried sludge ash from incinerating of sludge is used for
manufacturing of mortar, Gypsum component like silicon oxide, calcium oxide present
in SSA makes it favorable for cement manufacturing and brick industry. Gypsum from
SSA can contribute to 20% of raw material for cement industry (Mohanned et al.,
2016). The advantage of using the SSA for cement and concrete include reduction of
waste disposal costs, conservation of environment limiting to landfill.
The mixture of dried biomass of algae and cyanobacteria with non-sterile soil can be
used reclaim infertile soil for construction of parks and agricultural fields. Phosphate
rock and recycled phosphorus from sludge are used for producing phosphoric acid.
Phosphorus is important element for detergent industry. Detergent with phosphorus
shows better performance in removing stain from cloths as well as region where hardwater is as main source of water. Hardwater minerals interfere with the cleaning capacity. Phosphorus allows the cleaning agent in detergent to perform better as catalyst.
Recycled phosphorus used in detergent industry reduce load of dependency on phosphate rock and also contribute for combat he eutrophication (Bryan, 2010).
The wet extraction and SCWO method for recovering phosphorus from SSA is efficient
with high percentage recovery compared other methods. The electrochemical method
of recovery has a different procedure of removal of heavy particles without affecting the
concentration of phosphorus in ash. The factors effecting electrochemical methods are
controlled temperature above 900 °C for incinerating sludge ash and chlorine compounds. Nanofiltration method has high efficiency of producing pure phosphorus. Although the experiments were conducted in from different researches in controlled environments, the percentage of phosphorus recovery showed a large amount of variation.
This variation was observed due to different sources of sludge used for experimental
procedure. It is important to consider the sludge production method from waste and
water treatment facilities to determine the recovery of phosphorus from sludge.
The availability of only few costly methods for recycling of phosphorus does not encourage for many countries to adopt them although this method may show high potential for fertilizer production. Another important issue to be considered is the cost of the
process, which depends upon material, labor and transport expenses.
On the basis of results shown in Table 3, it can be concluded that wet extraction form
incinerated and SWCO residues and nanofiltration in diafilration can be effective methods for recovering P from sludge. The methods of incinerating and pretreating sludge
have a high impact on the recovery percentage of P from different methods. It can be
concluded from published results that the wet extraction process is affected by the
metal/phosphorus ratio and the concentration of acid and base applied as the extractant. Although the leaching rate of phosphors increases with a higher concentration of
acid and base, treating with calcium oxide to precipitate calcium phosphate decreases
because of the formation of an iron calcium phosphate compound that has a low value
in market and needs further treatment to recover the phosphate compound.
The general aim of nanofltration and thermochemical process is to separate phosphorus from heavy metals, to recover phosphorus for other applications. Recycled phosphorus from nanofiltration methods has high purity and can be used directly into agriculture and production of consumer products like detergent, packaging. This makes
nanofiltration methods highly reliable for recycling to fulfil the future demand. Heavymetal-, pathogens- and organic-hydrocarbon-free ash from thermochemical method is
directly useable for growing crops without further treatment.
Use of recycled phosphorus reduces the dependency on raw phosphate rocks, ensures
food security, decreasing the adverse effect on health and environment because of
eutrophication. Recycling of phosphorus is possible only with sustainable development
and policy regarding the use of phosphate-rich waste management. Use of recycled
phosphorus decreases the dependency upon the natural limited nutrient. By-products
from sludge have an impact on industrial development. Recycling of phosphorus reduces the eutrophic condition of the aquatic environment, which leads to limiting bioaccumulation in aquaculture and fishery. In addition, recycling phosphorus decrease dependency on countries like Morocco, China and USA for phosphorus, which are main
producer country for phosphate rock.
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Appendix 1
1 (1)
Apendix 1. Recycled polyphosphate as substitute to phosphorus fertilizer (Ray et
al., 2016)
Figure 8 Recycled polyphosphate as substitute to phosphorus fertilizer. (A)Table
showing the rate of conversion of polyphosphates accumulating by microalgae and cyanobacteria into soluble phosphorus and comparison of its release to conventional chemical
phosphorus fertilizer. (B)Polyphosphate releases soluble phosphorus at a comparison but
slower rate with recommended dose of superphosphate and NPK. All the points of gragh
represent the average data of 10 replicate.
Appendix 2
1 (1)
Appendix 2. Wet Extraction for SWCO residual
Result of phosphorus recovery by precipitation from leachate with calcium under different concentratiosd of NaOH(Stark and Hultman, 2003)
Figure 9. Recovery of phosphorus by precipitation from leachate with calcium under
different concentration of NaOH
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