Life Cycle Assessment of Phosphorus Sources from Phosphate ore and urban sinks: Sewage Sludge and MSW Incineration fly ash
Journal article, 2015

Urban sinks accumulate phosphorus and other elements and may serve as sources of secondary raw materials. This paper evaluates phosphorus sources based on their environmental impact. In a life cycle assessment (LCA) the conventional production was used as a yardstick against which tomeasure the performance of two recycling options: spreading of sewage sludge and phosphorus recovery from municipal solid waste incineration fly ash (MSWA). When compared as three gate-to-gate processes, the sludge spreading had the lowest potential environmental impact, except in the impact categories eco- and human toxicity. In the future, the sludge spreading could potentially outperform the conventional process also with regard to toxicity, provided its Hg and Cu content can be reduced. Phosphorus extracted from the MSWA had the highest impact, except in relation to eutrophication. The benefits of avoiding the conventional production were greater than the sludge recycling impacts for all categories except toxicity. When conventional production is substituted by the MSWA recycling, the eutrophication and land-use impacts are avoided, while the impacts in other categories are considerable. The development needs identified for this method include substitution of HCl, reduced water consumption, and reduction of the product’smetal content. Solutions to all of these challenges have been proposed and are currently being tested.

Life cycle assessment

Urban mining


Environmental impact


Yuliya Kalmykova

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

FRIST competence centre

Ulrika Palme

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Siyang Yu

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Karin Karlfeldt Fedje

FRIST competence centre

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

International Journal of Environmental Research

1735-6865 (ISSN)

Vol. 9 1 133-140

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Environmental Sciences

More information