Recycling of Phosphorus - Ecological and Economic Evaluation of Different Processes and Development of a Strategical Recycling Concept for Germany (PhoBe)

Aim of the project is the evaluation of the projects for development and testing of phosphorus recovery processes which are supported in the funding programme "Recycling management of plant nutrients, especially phosphorus" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Main emphasis of the evaluation is the assessment of the processes and of the products recovered as well as their usability.


Work package 1:

Analysis of the price development of phosphate (Fh-ISI)

The aim of the work package 1 is to identify reference values of the short- and long-term price elasticity of phosphorus demand by means of statistical, in particular econometric methods. The reason of this proceeding is that the price of mineral phosphate is the determining key reference of a cost-effectiveness assessment of phosphorus recovery processes. Within different scenarios of phosphorus demand these values will be used to evaluate the medium- and long-term global price development of phosphate. The price and if applicable its increase will be used to quantify the induced cost effects for the most important phosphate consumers at national level. Afterwards it will be estimated if alternative technical processes are available which allow a reduced dependence on the shortening resource phosphorus in an economic way.

Work package 2:

Identification and balance of stock flows appropriated to phosphorus recovery in Germany (ISA of RWTH Aachen University)

For the estimation whether relevant stock flows for phosphorus recovery are available in a sufficient amount in Germany these stock flows have to be identified first. Already known stock flows are e.g. waste water and sewage sludge. The identification of stocks which are considered as unknown concerning phosphorus recovery is a focal point of the work package. Particularly in special industries e.g. in the metal-working or plastic producing industry relevant potentials of phosphorus are supposed.

A further focal point is the quantitative determination of the already known and the new stock flows regarding their annual amount and their phosphorus concentration. The imported and exported phosphorus containing stock flows of Germany will also be determined.

In a further step the identified input and output stock flows of Germany will be balanced. The compiled balance is the basis of the decision which stock flow can expediently be used in phosphorus recovery.

Work package 3:

Testing of the products generated in the funding programme (University Gießen; Fh-IME)

In this work package a comparing examination of the products generated in the funding programme will be accomplished that shall lead to an identification of the most favourable process and product with regard to ecological sustainability. For that purpose the effect of the fertilisation, possible harmful environmental impacts and the technical qualities of the observed products will be analysed. Based on the investigated results their ecological sustainability will be described.

Work package 4:

Cost estimate and life cycle assessment of the processes developed within the funding programme (ISA of RWTH Aachen University)

The phosphorus recovery processes promoted within the funding programme shall be subjected to a cost estimate of the technique and a life cycle assessment. The cost-effectiveness of each process will be pointed out by the cost estimate. For this the specific production costs of each gained product will be identified. The life cycle assessment concerns of the whole path of life and utilisation of the product processed by the respective technique. Initial point is the preparation of the needed raw materials. Further points of evaluation are the intrinsic production incl. the needed energy as well as the needed operating materials up to the utilisation of the product.

Work package 5:

Development of a phosphorus recovery concept for Germany (ISA of RWTH Aachen University)

Aim of the work package 5 is the accomplishment of a phosphorus recovery concept for Germany. At this it is based on the results of the work packages 2 to 4.

The stock flow balance concerning phosphorus accomplished in work package 2 assists in the clarification of the question of localisation for phosphorus recovery plants. By the gained results a decision can be made where in Germany which stock flow can be used for phosphorus recycling.

The results of the work packages 3 and 4 conduce to the decision which stock flow shall be treated by which recovery technique.

The concept which shall be developed in this work package 5 will give a general view of the potential of the secondary raw material phosphorus and of the possible locations incl. the logistic requirements for its recovery and processing in Germany.

Work package 6:

Technology foresight of phosphorus recycling processes (Fh-ISI)

In addition to the phosphorus recycling technologies, developed within the funding programme and evaluated in the work package 4 the technology foresight of the work package 6 is the basis for the identification of processes which can give additional impulses to the medium-term technology development (up to 2020) in this field. In this connexion technology developments shall be identified which can promote or as well block the development in a defined way particularly with regard to the processes tested within the funding programme.

Work package 7:

Future prospects by the development of phosphorus recycling technologies for Germany (Fh-ISI)

The results of the technology foresight of the work package 6 are an important input of the work package 7 where the prospects of a future commercialisation of phosphorus recovery technologies in Germany and by German business respectively are estimated. After analysing the commercial relevance of German actors at the international market of phosphorus recycling technologies their future potential will be evaluated by appropriate innovation indicators. Furthermore so-called lead-market-factors will be determined. These factors assist analysing the position of the national innovation system "phosphorus recycling" in all. In conclusion based on these findings the aim is to give recommendations for political measures which on the one hand can promote the technology development and on the other hand sharpen up the conditions of a successful commercialisation of these technologies.

Work package 8:

Project coordination, compiling of a brochure describing the results of the work packages 1 to 7 and organisation of a workshop (ISA of RWTH Aachen University)

The project coordination comprises not only the accompanying project but it is also the interface between this and the other projects promoted in the funding programme "Recycling management of plant nutrients, especially phosphorus".

The results of the accompanying project and of the other projects promoted in the funding programme will be abstracted in a brochure by the coordinator. Furthermore the results will be discussed with a professional audience at a workshop organised by the coordinator.