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Denmark Treatment Plant Experiments to Extract Phosphorus from Wastewater

Contributed by: PumpScout Staff

Naturally occurring phosphorus is in danger of being mined to the point of exhaustion. Phosphorus is a nutrient that plays an important role in plant growth and food production; increasingly important for a growing global population. As such, phosphorus recycling and new ways of mining are receiving attention and funding around the world.

In November 2013, Denmark opened Åby treatment plant in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city. The new plant is home to a project that involves testing technologies to extract phosphorus from wastewater. Aarhus Water, Grundfos and others are working in cooperation with Danish water authority on this project.

“The Danish Government wants a greener Denmark,” says Ida Auken, Danish Minister for the Environment. “This project is an example of what green transition is all about. We develop solutions to environmental problems while also creating new products which can generate income in the future. Phosphorus discharge into the aquatic environment is not only a challenge in Denmark. It is a global problem, so there are great benefits in finding a method to solve it.”

Water utility Aarhus Water has worked to remove phosphorus from wastewater since 2011 because of its tendency to form deposits in pipes and cause blockages. After discovering that a group in Oregon USA had made significant progress with phosphorus recycling, the Danish project gained speed.

"Extracting phosphorus from wastewater holds great potential. From our perspective, we can solve a problem and exploit an opportunity at the same time. We can avoid blockages in our pipes while extracting a valuable resource with commercial value - utilizing a scarce resource in a sustainable manner at the same time," says Claus Homann, Department Manager at Aarhus Vand. He believes the plant in Åby can be developed to extract 60 percent of the phosphorus from wastewater.

Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer, is one of the partners in the project. Their role is to supply highly specialized components for phosphorus extraction, including dosing pumps, booster systems and control systems for the wastewater plant.

“We are interested in seeing how our solutions can play a role in the project. We already have these technologies, so what we are looking at is a different way of applying them. We will start by testing how it all works and then make a decision as to whether this is something we will continue to pursue," says Per Krøyer Kristensen, Business Development Manager at Grundfos.

Other partners working on this project include Herning Water, Horsens Water, the Danish Knowledge Centre for Agriculture and consultants, Norconsult. Their partnership was formed in January 2013.

Source: Impeller Net