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Struvite precipitation within wastewater treatment: A problem or a circular economy opportunity?

Struvite precipitation within wastewater treatment: A problem or a circular economy opportunity?
Struvite precipitation within wastewater treatment: A problem or a circular economy opportunity?
Enhanced biological phosphorus removal at wastewater treatment plants that use anaerobic digesters for sludge treatment have historically encountered phosphate precipitation problems in the form of struvite. Literature on struvite is thin which is surprising given it can foul/block the sludge return lines and associated pumps and valves, causing significant operational problems. This study has evaluated if a typical large wastewater treatment plant can overcome this problem by adopting circular economy thinking. The struvite profile based on the supersaturation ratio of (Mg:NH4:PO42-), pH and temperature demonstrates the potential operational hotspots that can present uncontrolled struvite formation. Based on current struvite monitoring technologies and a cost-benefit analysis, the controlled struvite recovery via an Ostara crystallization reactor has been demonstrated to be economically viable with a pay-back period of less than a decade. An integrated evaluation illustrates the positive environmental impact arising from the utilisation of the recovered product. Economic viability and payback periods will vary according to circumstances, but we recommend that WWTP operators globally consider fitting a crystallisation reactor to appropriate plants, The outcomes and recommendation from this study are particularly timely given the global fertiliser shortage (2022) that is driving up food prices and reducing crop sizes.
Circular economy, Cost-benefit analysis, Phosphorus, Struvite, Wastewater treatment
2405-8440
Achilleos, Panayiotis
4f004e94-8a0b-47ff-b491-bb792090d8b5
Roberts, Keiron Philip
da377993-082e-4693-8814-8983ab028258
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Achilleos, Panayiotis
4f004e94-8a0b-47ff-b491-bb792090d8b5
Roberts, Keiron Philip
da377993-082e-4693-8814-8983ab028258
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22

Achilleos, Panayiotis, Roberts, Keiron Philip and Williams, Ian (2022) Struvite precipitation within wastewater treatment: A problem or a circular economy opportunity? Heliyon, 8 (7), [e09862]. (doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09862).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Enhanced biological phosphorus removal at wastewater treatment plants that use anaerobic digesters for sludge treatment have historically encountered phosphate precipitation problems in the form of struvite. Literature on struvite is thin which is surprising given it can foul/block the sludge return lines and associated pumps and valves, causing significant operational problems. This study has evaluated if a typical large wastewater treatment plant can overcome this problem by adopting circular economy thinking. The struvite profile based on the supersaturation ratio of (Mg:NH4:PO42-), pH and temperature demonstrates the potential operational hotspots that can present uncontrolled struvite formation. Based on current struvite monitoring technologies and a cost-benefit analysis, the controlled struvite recovery via an Ostara crystallization reactor has been demonstrated to be economically viable with a pay-back period of less than a decade. An integrated evaluation illustrates the positive environmental impact arising from the utilisation of the recovered product. Economic viability and payback periods will vary according to circumstances, but we recommend that WWTP operators globally consider fitting a crystallisation reactor to appropriate plants, The outcomes and recommendation from this study are particularly timely given the global fertiliser shortage (2022) that is driving up food prices and reducing crop sizes.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 June 2022
Published date: 18 July 2022
Additional Information: © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Circular economy, Cost-benefit analysis, Phosphorus, Struvite, Wastewater treatment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 468583
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/468583
ISSN: 2405-8440
PURE UUID: 1572d65c-35d8-41cd-ba9f-42d8ed148c34
ORCID for Ian Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219

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Date deposited: 18 Aug 2022 16:41
Last modified: 19 Aug 2022 01:38

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Contributors

Author: Panayiotis Achilleos
Author: Keiron Philip Roberts
Author: Ian Williams ORCID iD

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