In a few years, the recovery of phosphorus from sewage sludge will be mandatory for German sewage treatment plants covering a population equivalent of 50.000 or higher. Gelsenwasser and EasyMining have therefore together developed a concept for operating the Ash2Phos-process. This concept will now be further realised with the objective of setting up the first Ash2Phos recovery plant in Germany.
- It is very important that the technical solution chosen is sustainable both from an energy efficiency perspective, economically and in regard to the chemicals necessary for the process. Above all, the recovered phosphorus must be of a high enough quality that meets the needs of the market. EasyMining and their solution delivers on all these aspects, says Henning R. Deters, CEO of GELSENWASSER AG.
For Gelsenwasser, the most important aspects of a partnership are resource protection, sustainability and long-term economic efficiency and these focus areas have been key components in their core business of water supply for decades.
- We are looking for partnerships fitting our goals on every level of our current business in water, wastewater, energy and services. EasyMining, together with their mother company Ragn-Sells, is focused on developing new technologies and processes enabling the establishment of circular solutions that fits perfectly with our Gelsenwasser vision and ambition, says Henning R. Deters.
The Ash2Phos technology detoxifies the sewage sludge ash, while at the same time recovering the phosphorus so that it can be circled back into the new production loops. The end-product is of premium quality; clean, recycled phosphorus, free of cadmium.
The initial joint Gelsenwasser and EasyMining Phosphorus Recycling Middle Germany (PhorMi) research project were concluded in 2019. The results show that the Ash2Phos technology is ready to produce phosphorous out of sewage sludge ash in a ready-for-market standard.
- In addition to the test results from the PhorMi research project, this process fits well into the material flows from our existing plants. These facts make the Ash2Phos solution a very good candidate for a successful phosphorus recovery technology, says Christoph Ontyd, Head of Wastewater at GELSENWASSER AG.
The next step in this collaboration is to build and operate the first large-scale phosphorous recovery plant based on the Ash2Phos-process in Germany. The plant will be built in the Bitterfeld-Wolfen region, where Gelsenwasser already runs one of the biggest sewage treatment plants in eastern Germany, as well as an incineration plant. In addition, Gelsenwasser is also building a new sludge incineration plant to be ready by the summer of 2021.
The first Ash2Phos plant will be designed for the treatment of 30,000 tons of sewage sludge ash per year. The experiences gained from establishing this first plant will contribute to the optimisation of the recovery process, with the goal of building a number of additional Ash2Phos-plants in Germany.
EasyMining is an innovation company dedicated to closing nutrient cycles. We are owned by the Swedish environmental company Ragn-Sells. We are passionate about inventing new technology that uses intelligent chemical solutions to close nutrient cycles. Our objective is to create new circular material flows in an efficient commercial way.