Phosphorus recovery from municipal and fertilizer wastewater: China's potential and perspective

Phosphorus (P) is a limited resource, which can neither be synthesized nor substituted in its essential functions as nutrient. Currently explored and economically feasible global reserves may be depleted within generations. China is the largest phosphate fertilizer producing and consuming country in the world. China's municipal wastewater contains up to 293,163 Mg year of phosphorus, which equals approximately 5.5% of the chemical fertilizer phosphorus consumed in China. Phosphorus in wastewater can be seen not only as a source of pollution to be reduced, but also as a limited resource to be recovered. Based upon existing phosphorus-recovery technologies and the current wastewater infrastructure in China, three options for phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge, sludge ash and the fertilizer industry were analyzed according to the specific conditions in China.

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