New partnership aims to build up capacity for phosphorus recovery in Germany
MSE Mobile Schlammentwässerung, Gelsenwasser AG, and EasyMining Germany have agreed to future cooperation for the recovery of phosphorus from ashes of incinerated sewage sludge. The companies see great potential in the collaboration based in the southwest of Germany, including the significant contribution of phosphorus to a more circular economy and thus a more sustainable world.
– One essential key for circular economy is multisectoral cooperation. The partnership with MSE marks an important step and will enable a sustainable solution for the sludge management in southwest Germany, making sure, the legal requirements set by the German sludge regulation for phosphorus recycling are met and the efficiently detoxified recycled materials gain volumes of relevance for the respective markets, says Christian Kabbe, CEO EasyMining Germany.
Using the patented Ash2Phos process from EasyMining, a subsidiary within the Ragn-Sells Group, the partnership plans to extract calcium phosphate from the renewable mineral source of sludge ash. The resulting universal raw material - which has simultaneously been purified of pollutants, such as heavy metals - can then be used for numerous phosphorus-containing products, such as high-quality fertilisers.
The Ash2Phos process features a significant phosphorus recovery rate of over 90% and a substantial recycling rate, in relation to ash, of over 95%. The latter is achieved by the holistic concept, of recovering also commercial co-products like coagulants widely used in wastewater treatment, chemical industry and construction materials.
The first large-scale technical application of the Ash2Phos process will be a plant in the Schkopau Chemical Park with a capacity to process 30,000 t of ash per year. The permit application is already in progress and managed through a joint venture between Gelsenwasser and EasyMining, Phoshorgewinnung Schkopau (PGS). The Schkopau plant is scheduled to begin operation in 2024.
– Our partnership is a milestone for protecting the environment and conserving resources. The incineration of sewage sludge produces green heat and sustainable electricity. The resulting ash also contains valuable phosphorus that we can now recover thanks to the innovative Ash2Phos technology and, for example, use as a circular solution in agricultural fertiliser, says Leo Homann, Managing Director of MSE Mobile Schlammentwässerung.
About the Ash2Phos Process
EasyMining’s patented Ash2Phos process extracts phosphorus and other resources from incinerated sewage sludge. It can recover over 90% of the phosphorus in sewage sludge ash, which it also detoxifies and separates from heavy metals.
About MSE Mobile Schlammentwässerungs
MSE Mobile Schlammentwässerungs is a subsidiary of EnBW AG and has been a partner and service provider of the drainage and recycling of municipal sewage sludge for over 30 years. In order to ensure the safety of disposal in Baden-Württemberg, as well as future benefits, facilities are being created solely for the handling of sewage sludge. This helps for harnessing the energy potential of sewage sludge, but it also for ashes enabling to recover phosphorus and other valuable ingredients from the ash in market relevant volumes and grades.
About EasyMining Germany
EasyMining Germany is a 100% subsidiary of EasyMining Sweden AB, which in turn belongs to the Ragn-Sells Group, one of the largest environmental service providers in Scandinavia. EasyMining is recognised as a force of innovation and is dedicated to the development and implementation of technologies for the recovery of valuable resources from mineral material flows, such as nutrient-rich wastewater. Particular emphasis is placed on returning those valuable substances into their respective lifecycles in a cleaner and marketable form. The aim is always to conserve natural and critical resources, to explicitly exclude pollutants from circular material flows in an efficient and commercial way.
To quote Ragnar Sellbergs: "We want to be living proof that caring for the earth and good business go hand in hand."
About Gelsenwasser AG
All life comes from water — and that's how Gelsenwasser AG was created! Founded in 1887 in the Ruhr area to supply industries and the people of the region with water, today it’s one of the largest utilities in Germany. Resource protection is very important to us. For over 40 years, our logo has symbolically displayed that priority: The blue river in a green landscape stands for a sustainable, responsible management of resources. This applies to all areas of business, from infrastructure for water and wastewater to energy (gas, electricity, wind, PV, heat) to recycling (sewage sludge combustion plus phosphorus recycling). We also share our know-how with our partners as services or in joint projects. We always keep an eye on the specific needs in place to achieve viable, cost-effective solutions.