Economic Assessment of Utilizing the Improved Hard Process for Phosphorus Recovery from various bio feedstocks

Economic Assessment of Utilizing the Improved Hard Process for Phosphorus Recovery from various bio feedstocks

by: Bhavish Patel (presenting author)1, Tobias Borgmeyer2, Mohamed Tarik1, Christian Ludwig1,2

1: Bioenergy and Catalysis Laboratory (LBK), Energy and Environment Research Division (ENE), Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), Switzerland; 2: Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Phosphorus (P) is a crucial and finite element needed by plants and animals for growth and viability. With increasing world population and the simultaneous growing appetite, there will be an increasing demand for fertilizers in the future. With diminishing high concentration P ores which is used to produce P fertilizers, other processes and feedstocks need to be identified and the economic feasibility of such processes evaluated to recover P from waste streams and close the material loop. In order to be cost competitive, it is envisaged that recovering P for fertilizer offers limited opportunities, and thus targeted and higher value application of the recovered P is necessary. As such, thermal processes, especially ones designed for low quality P feedstocks appear attractive. The Improved Hard Process (IHP) was specifically designed for such application. Only limited research exists on the IHP and the capability of using other feedstocks other than low-grade P ores to gain a high purity product is still in its infancy. Organic sources of P in waste biomasses (and ashes) already exists, but is not fully utilised due to economic as well as technological constraints, especially in thermal processing. Considering the Europe-wide view of preventing P loss into the environment, a local and sustainable source of P is necessary. As such, in this work we use both primary and secondary data sources to identify feedstocks and their ashes suitable for utility in the IHP. Further to thus, the incineration process is also considered as an energy vector, thus the operational and fixed costs of both the processes is identified.