Phosphorus Recovery from Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Fly Ash
Journal article, 2013

The potential of phosphorus (P) recycling from municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) residue is investigated. Vast and ever increasing amounts of incineration residues are produced worldwide; these are an environmental burden, but also a resource, as they are a major sink for the material flows of society. Due to strict environmental regulations, in combination with decreasing landfilling space, the disposal of the MSWI residues is problematic. At the same time, resource scarcity is recognized as a global challenge for the modern world, and even more so for future generations. This paper reports on the methods and efficiency of P extraction from MSWI fly ash by acid and base leaching and precipitation procedures. Phosphorus extracted from the MSWI residues generated each year could meet 30 % of the annual demand for mineral phosphorus fertiliser in Sweden, given a recovery rate of 70 % achieved in this initial test. The phosphorus content of the obtained product is slightly higher than in sewage sludge, but due to the trace metal content it is not acceptable for application to agricultural land in Sweden, whereas application in the rest of the EU would be possible. However, it would be preferable to use the product as a raw material to replace rock phosphate in fertilizer production. Further development is currently underway in relation to procedure optimization, purification of the phosphorus product, and the simultaneous recovery of other resources.

wet chemical method


municipal solid waste

phosphorus recycling


Yuliya Kalmykova

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Karin Karlfeldt Fedje

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

FRIST competence centre

Waste Management

0956-053X (ISSN)

Vol. 33 6 1403-1410

Subject Categories

Mineral and Mine Engineering

Other Environmental Engineering

Other Chemical Engineering

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)



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