A new, efficient method of treating sludge from municipal waste treatment facilities or pulp and paper operations could improve phosphorous recycling efforts, reduce the problem of how to dispose of toxic waste sludge — and produce an economic benefit for industry, says Bio4Energy.
The clean tech company’s researchers are developing a method for phosphorous recovery using thermal treatment of sludge. Research leader Marcus Öhman says the technology could be ready for an industrial demonstration in five years and industrial uptake within a decade.
Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for plant growth and food production. Ongoing research on a handful of methods for recycling the mineral from sludge either perform inadequately or are too expensive, Bio4Energy says.
Öhman says Bio4Energy’s new method could recover “80 percent of the phosphorous that we put in our mouths [in the form of food].”
The company says it is in discussions with “one of the world’s largest boiler manufacturers” about demonstrating the technology.
The research and development project is a collaboration between Bio4Energy researchers at LTU and Umeå University.
HoSt’s thermal pressure hydrolysis pilot plant, which began operating at a wastewater treatment plant in the Netherlands in May, reduces the cost of sludge treatment and allows recovery of the raw materials, according to the company.