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Review

Recovery of Phosphorus from Waste Water Profiting from Biological Nitrogen Treatment: Upstream, Concomitant or Downstream Precipitation Alternatives

1
LEQUIA, Institute of the Environment, University of Girona, Campus Montilivi, Carrer Maria Aurèlia Capmany 69, E-17003 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
2
IRTA, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Sustainable Plant Protection Program, Ctra. de Cabrils, km 2, E-08348 Cabrils (Barcelona), Catalonia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(7), 1039; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10071039
Received: 19 June 2020 / Revised: 10 July 2020 / Accepted: 14 July 2020 / Published: 18 July 2020
Mined phosphate rock is the largest source of phosphorus (P) for use in agriculture and agro-industry, but it also is a finite resource irregularly distributed around the world. Alternatively, waste water is a renewable source of P, available at the local scale. In waste water treatment, biological nitrogen (N) removal is applied according to a wide range of variants targeting the abatement of the ammonium content. Ammonium oxidation to nitrate can also be considered to mitigate ammonia emission, while enabling N recovery. This review focuses on the analysis of alternatives for coupling biological N treatment and phosphate precipitation when treating waste water in view of producing P-rich materials easily usable as fertilisers. Phosphate precipitation can be applied before (upstream configuration), together with (concomitant configuration), and after (downstream configuration) N treatment; i.e., chemically induced as a conditioning pre-treatment, biologically induced inside the reactor, and chemically induced as a refining post-treatment. Characteristics of the recovered products differ significantly depending on the case studied. Currently, precipitated phosphate salts are not typified in the European fertiliser regulation, and this fact limits marketability. Nonetheless, this topic is in progress. The potential requirements to be complied by these materials to be covered by the regulation are overviewed. The insights given will help in identifying enhanced integrated approaches for waste water treatment, pointing out significant needs for subsequent agronomic valorisation of the recovered phosphate salts, according to the paradigms of the circular economy, sustainability, and environmental protection. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitated phosphate salts; calcium phosphate; magnesium phosphate; struvite; waste water treatment; nitrification; denitrification; anammox; resource recovery; circular economy precipitated phosphate salts; calcium phosphate; magnesium phosphate; struvite; waste water treatment; nitrification; denitrification; anammox; resource recovery; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Magrí, A.; Carreras-Sempere, M.; Biel, C.; Colprim, J. Recovery of Phosphorus from Waste Water Profiting from Biological Nitrogen Treatment: Upstream, Concomitant or Downstream Precipitation Alternatives. Agronomy 2020, 10, 1039. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10071039

AMA Style

Magrí A, Carreras-Sempere M, Biel C, Colprim J. Recovery of Phosphorus from Waste Water Profiting from Biological Nitrogen Treatment: Upstream, Concomitant or Downstream Precipitation Alternatives. Agronomy. 2020; 10(7):1039. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10071039

Chicago/Turabian Style

Magrí, Albert, Mar Carreras-Sempere, Carmen Biel, and Jesús Colprim. 2020. "Recovery of Phosphorus from Waste Water Profiting from Biological Nitrogen Treatment: Upstream, Concomitant or Downstream Precipitation Alternatives" Agronomy 10, no. 7: 1039. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10071039

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