Session 6

Phosphorus recycling strategies for Switzerland

Jonas Ramon Mehr1, Michael Jedelhauser2, Claudia Binder1

1EPFL, Switzerland; 2University of Munich, Germany

The future supply of phosphorus (P) – a non-substitutable element and next to nitrogen and potash a core component of plant fertilisation – has been increasingly entering public, political and academic agendas. Even though new mineral phosphate reserves have been discovered (Scholz und Wellmer 2013), P-supply in Europe remains critical due to potential geopolitical P-scarcity rendering efficient and sustainable P-use an important challenge. Thus, knowledge about the distribution and dynamics of P-flows is crucial for a sustainable P-management on a global, national and local scale.

In Switzerland, studies depicted a large potential for P-recycling from sewage sludge and animal by-products (Binder et al. 2009, Binder und Jedelhauser 2013). As a consequence, P-recycling from sewage sludge as well as meat and bone meal will become obligatory in Switzerland in 2026. Until then, P-recovery technologies will have to be installed and made fit for market. To support the technological transition, knowledge about the national P-flows is vital yet not up to date for the case of Switzerland. Thus, this study aims at enhancing the knowledge of the Swiss P-budget and comprises the following steps: a) calculation of P-flows in Switzerland by means of a mass flow analysis (MFA) for the year 2015, b) analysis of temporal dynamics by comparison to former studies, c) assessment of the potential for P-recycling and d) evaluation of possible P-recycling technologies for the case of Switzerland (based on EBP 2017) and assessment of feasible regional P-recycling strategies.