Phosphorus cycle - possibilities for its rebuilding
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The rebuilding of the phosphorus cycle can be performed with the use of both biotechnology and chemical technology. This paper presents a review of the phosphorus cycle and the different approaches that can be taken to the recovery of phosphorus from phosphate-rich waste. Critical issues in the phosphorus cycle are also discussed. Methods for the recovery of phosphorus form sewage sludge ash are widely explored and divided into two groups: wet extraction methods and thermochemical methods. Laboratory-scale methods are described, as well as proposed industrial technologies, with particular regard to the possibilities for their implementation in Poland. Phosphorus recovery methods from SSA (sewage sludge ash) in our country seems to be promising due to the increasing number of sewage sludge incineration plants, which could easily supply ash to future recovery installations. For the effective recovery of P from sewage sludge ash, it is essential to make the right choice in determining the appropriate method to use with respect to the particular properties of the ash composition available. A patented method of phosphorus recovery by acid extraction methods, developed by Cracow University of Technology, results in an efficiency of 80-96% for phosphorus recovery. 3000 to 4000 tons of phosphorus per year can be recycled and introduced back into the environment, that covers around 7% of the total amount of phosphorus ore imported into Poland between 2008 and 2009.
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