Total Material Requirement assessment of Phosphorus sources from phosphate ore and urban sinks: sewage sludge and MSW incineration fly ash
Journal article, 2015
Diversification of phosphorus sources can bring substantial synergy effects within all the sustainable development domains: environmental, economic and social, and such an opportunity should not be overlooked. Urban sinks accumulate phosphorus and other elements and may serve as sources of secondary raw materials. This paper evaluates phosphorus sources based on their total material requirement (TMR). Resource requirements and emissions of the conventional phosphorus production from mining through the acid route processing have been quantified and have been used as a yardstick against which to measure the performance of two recycling options: spreading of sewage sludge and phosphorus recovery from municipal solid waste incineration fly ash (MSWA). The sludge spreading had the lowest TMR. Phosphorus extracted from the MSWAhad four-fold higher TMR than the conventional production. However, method modifications were suggested and are currently being tested, which reduce the methods TMR well below the TMR of the phosphorus production from the ore. The entire impact of the Swedish mineral fertilizer demand can be avoided by recycling urban sinks of phosphorus. Sweden can become self-sufficient in mineral fertilizer because the phosphorus quantities imported in food and later found in the urban sinks such as food waste, sewage sludge and MSW incineration residues cover the entire necessary quantity.