Facing up to Phosphorus
By: Tim Lougheed
We can’t live without this essential element—yet at the same time we’re having an increasingly hard time living with it. What in the world are we going to do?
…One promising technology is a chemical reactor that can be installed in municipal wastewater streams, where human urine provides a rich supply of raw material. Urine forms the basis of ammonium magnesium phosphate, a white crystal known as struvite.
Struvite cakes on the walls of sluiceways and sewers, hardening into a concrete-like consistency that is onerous to remove. Struvite, if it can be extracted in a pure form, offers the basis for an effective fertilizer. For example, an extraction technology produced by Vancouver-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has been installed in cities in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. The system, like others, aspires to provide a cost-effective means of capturing struvite for agricultural use…
Read the article online at: www.environment.umn.edu/momentum/