Phosphorus – vital for all living organisms, but finite
EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT and LIPPEVERBAND develop a sustainable strategy to recover Phosphorus from waste water. Therefore we cooperate with ten further partners from seven European countries in the just started INTERREG V B NWE -project „Phos4You“.
Phosphorus is essential for all living organisms. There are almost no origin sources within Europe; the EU is dependant to over 90% on Phosphorus import. The long term objective of Phos4You is to guarantee feed and food security in Europe by reducing EU’s dependence from imported phosphate rock.
Under the lead of the LIPPEVERBAND, Phos4You demonstrates innovative technologies to recover Phosphorus, showcases the use of secondary raw Phosphorus (e.g. bio-based fertilizers) and sets up the deployment of phosphors recycling in the partners regions and beyond.
Phos4You addresses the phosphorus challenge.
Though it is a finite resource on earth, Phosphorus is largely “wasted” today: As fertilizer it is introduced in the food chain, after digestion it gets into the waste water; waste water treatment plants eliminate the Phosphorus to keep water bodies clean, so that with incineration and disposal of sewage sludge the Phosphorus leaves the cycle. The EU acknowledged this by adding phosphate rock to its list of critical raw materials in 2014. There is a need to boost the use of secondary raw phosphorus.
Phos4You specifically targets Phosphorus recovery from municipal waste water treatment plants. It aims at accelerating the exploitation of the recovery potential in municipal sewage water. This potential, estimated at 113,000 tonnes P per year could cover 26% of the mineral Phosphorus demand in NWE. Even 45% of the demand could be supplied by circular economy, by taking into account other sectors. In 2015 NWE imported 100% of its mineral Phosphorus need.
To reach this change Phos4You will demonstrate that the Phosphorus recovery from waste water is feasible. Secondly the fertilizer value chain will be ready to make use of recycled phosphorus. Closing the gap between Phosphorus recovery and Phosphorus recycling is consequently the third sub objective. It includes the upscaling of technologies, the development of a decision support as well as impact on legislation.
How to get there?
Relevant steps to achieve this will be:
• Constructing demonstrators for P-recovery technologies in real life conditions
• Implementation of innovative P-recovery technologies for municipal sewage water
• Creating new products from P-recycling processes for fertilizer
• Elaborating a EU-Standard to assess quality of new fertilizer products
• Increasing social acceptance for fertilizer from municipal waste water
The international partnership has complementary expertise in the field of Phosphorus recovery. Partners are waste water treatment plant operators, mono-incinerators, enterprises providing recovery processes, universities, research institutions and knowledge clusters. Fertilizer stakeholders are closely involved to mirror the whole value chain of the Phosphorus cycle. The broad network of associated partners involves national authorities, institutions involved in permit´s delivery as well as policy maker on regional, national and EU level.
Pilot projects at EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT and LIPPEVERBAND
The German government fosters technical Phosphorus recovery. The new sewage sludge ordinance passed the German Bundestag in March 2017. With that, the agricultural use of sewage sludge will become difficult. For EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT and LIPPEVERBAND there is a need for a long term strategy for sewage sludge disposal.
Phos4You will support that for the coming 4 years: Different innovative processes to recover Phosphorus and its recycling will be technically and economically investigated, taking into account the concerns of the enterprises BETREM und INNOVATHERM.
The pilot project of the LIPPVERBAND includes investigations how to treat the EG/LV – sewage sludge ashes that they can be used as secondary raw P fertilizer in an industrial scale. The pilot project of the EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT includes a specific treatment of sewage sludge: After a two-step incineration the evolving ash can be used directly as fertilizer. This innovation will be demonstrated in a pilot plant at the Technikum in Dinslaken.
• Lead Partner: Lippeverband, DE
• Université de Liège, BE
• IRSTEA Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l´Environnement et l´Agriculture, FR
• Cork Institute of Technology - Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre, IE
• Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, CH
• Universiteit Gent, BE
• Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
• Environmental Research Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK
• Veolia Environnement, FR
• Emschergenossenschaft, DE
• NV HVC – SNB, NL
• Scottish Water, UK.
Project duration: 15.09.2016 – 14.09.2020
Funding: INTERREG V B North-West Europe.
Save the date – 18.-20. October 2017 in Basel, Switzerland
Phos4You launch conference jointly with ESPP, DPP, FHNW, BaselArea during a 3-day European nutrient event.
Please finde the conference programme and further informations online.Learn more
DESSIN: What profits is the conversion of the Emscher system bringing us?
It is more than 20 years since the first decisions were made for the conversion of the Emscher system. Today, many waterways have been cleared of wastewater and ecologically redesigned. This conversion will be completed in the year 2020, and will have cost a total of around 4.5 billion euros. A lot of Money well invested. This is because in addition to creating and securing jobs during the conversion, the water quality of the waterways is being improved, which increases the value of the area around the waterways, and generates numerous other sources of value in the Emscher region, which are subsumed under the term "ecosystem services".
With the DESSIN project (Demonstrate Ecosystem Services Enabling Innovation in the Water Sector), the Emschergenossenschaft has been working with 19 other European partners since January 2014 to develop a method that will enable the calculation of the ecosystem services generated by measures in the water sector; e.g. the regulatory effects in relation to nutrient retention and flood protection, the cultural Services such as recreation and nature tourism, and the economic aspects such as the positive impact on economic growth.
In DESSIN, the Emscher system serves as a demonstration area, through which it can specifically be determined what ecosystem services are generated by the restructuring of the water system, and in what scope. The water quality is an important indicator of a healthy body of water. It is therefore planned that DESSIN should trial innovative cleaning and regulation techniques in mixed water treatment plants, to minimise the levels of pollutants being introduced into bodies of water during precipitation events.
The DESSIN project is funded by the European Commission, and is being run under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP 7) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration. DESSIN has a runtime of four years. Further information can be found under www.dessin-project.eu.
Wastewater heat recovery: Heat from wastewater? A pilot project
The fossil fuels oil, coal and gas have two major disadvantages: they are not in unlimited supply, and burning them generates emissions that harm the climate – with significant consequential damage and costs. In the search for sources of renewable energy that have not yet been exploited, heated wastewater is increasingly coming into focus. As a source of energy which is available locally, in the long term, and which is decentralised, wastewater may represent a component of the energy transition. Together with Stadtwerke Bochum GmbH (Bochum Municipal Utilities), we are investigating how and under what conditions it can be used, using the Nordwestbad (public swimming pool) as a trial property.
In the newly built mixed water sewer on the Marbach stream in Bochum-Hofstede, heat exchanger elements were installed in July 2009 to supply the Nordwestbad swimming pool. Swimming pools are ideal consumers for wastewater heat, because they have high energy requirements all year round at low temperature levels. The wastewater heat exchanger is 46 metres in length, and recovers heat energy equivalent to 150 kilowatts from the wastewater. In the process, the wastewater is calculated to be cooled by around 0.05°K.
The heat from the wastewater has been heating the Nordwestbad pool since 2010 by means of a heat pump with a combined heat and power unit (CHP unit) attached. The CHP unit delivers the electricity required for the operation of the heat pump, making it possible to dispense entirely with an external power supply. For the few days of the year when the wastewater heat is not entirely sufficient to cover energy requirements, the natural gas heating system installed comes on. Overall, around 75 percent of the total heat requirements can be covered by wastewater heat recovery. This represents CO2 savings of around 220 tonnes per year (around 40 percent) compared to the conventional natural gas heating system.
The overall system was installed in cooperation with Bochum Municipal Utilities. The EMSCHERGENOSSENSCHAFT was responsible for installing the heat exchanger in the sewer, and the Municipal Utilities were responsible for renovating the swimming pool technology. A corresponding cooperation agreement was concluded. The Federal Environment Ministry subsidised the pilot project within the framework of its environmental innovation programme, in the sum of 30 percent of the Investment costs. The overall system commenced operation in 2010.
Are you interested in wastewater heat recovery as an alternative for your heating system? Then the map of the Emscher region could help you in finding a location.