Phosphorous is an essential element for all life on earth. Since 2014, phosphorous has been rated as one of the “critical” elements by the European Commission. Again in Stuttgart (Germany), 180 Experts from different branches came together for the 4th time to discuss the interdisciplinary challenge of establishing a P-recycling economy and the recent developments in politics, economy and process technology.
The latest changes in the German fertilizer and sewage sludge ordinance have set a path for sustainable P-recycling in the future, but have also effected today’s sewage sludge utilisation and disposal: Many sewage treatment plant operators have trouble to get good conditions for their sewage sludge disposal and prices are partly rising beyond 140 €/Mg dewatered sludge. Some even fail to get new offers for the disposal contracts so that a state of emergency with regards to the sewage sludge disposal is discussed.
WEHRLE was able to present solutions for the thermal treatment of sewage sludge in the range of 1-10 MWth in order to mitigate the disposal problem and to contribute to the P-recycling by means of the production of clean, p-enriched ashes. According to the 4. BImSchV, the federal immission control act, a quick planning consent can be granted without public participation if the plant has a smaller input capacity than 3 Mg/h. The plant with a high degree of automation and proven technology from existing reference plants is competitive to today’s prices for disposal. Especially for sewage plant operators and association of communes with more than 80.000 inhabitant equivalent, the compact plant technology from WEHRLE could be an interesting way to solve their disposal problems and to get independent from external disposal prices.