Rapf, Matthias; Schmid, Max; Pasi, Maria Cristina; Lomazzi, Eleonora
Elemental white phosphorus (P4) is an indispensable raw material for various key industries in Europe. As the EU depends on supplies from a few politically less reliable countries, it has classified white phosphorus as a critical raw material. In the FlashPhos project, which we will present in our contribution to LCM 2021, 17 European partners from industry and science are working on a comprehensive technological and economic concept for extracting white phosphorus from sewage sludge throughout Europe. On the one hand, this concept is designed to develop and demonstrate an innovative technology that economically produces white phosphorus and valuable by-products, involving sewage sludge producers and the users of the products in the project. Secondly, the technology will be optimised in a large-scale study of technical scale-up as well as socio-economic and environmental impacts to meet the needs of society, the market and the environment along its entire value chain. Special attention is paid to ensuring that FlashPhos can also be used in European regions where sustainable solutions for sewage sludge disposal and phosphorus recovery are not yet in sight. FlashPhos plants will be connected to cement plants, with which there are numerous synergies, and which exist close to almost all European agglomerations with high sludge production. To ensure that sufficient quantities of sewage sludge can be processed for the economic operation of a P4 plant, FlashPhos uses a sophisticated concept in which the material and energy flows of the actual process chain – consisting of sludge drying, flash gasification, slag refining, phosphorus extraction and the production of a CO2-saving alternative cement – are intensively interwoven with the infrastructure of the host plant. This results in a zero-waste process in which all flows will find their ways back into the economic cycle.