What’s the problem with P? 

Nothing can live without P (Phosphorus). Not we humans, nor animals, nor plants.  

Phosphorus is needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA.  

However, the Earth’s supply of phosphorus is finite. At current consumption levels, we will run out of known phosphorus reserves in around 80 years, but consumption rates are set to increase. 

Nearly 90% of phosphorus is used in the global food supply chain, most of it in crop fertilizers. Too much phosphorus in our natural world can cause increased growth of algae and large aquatic plants (eutrophication), which can produce toxins which can be harmful to human and animal health. 

In terms of wastewater treatment there are two main phosphorus removal techniques – biological and chemical. In the case of biological, microorganisms are grown in the water which absorb and store phosphorus as polyphosphate. The phosphorus is bound into the biomass which is then separated from the treated water at the end of the process. 

For chemical treatment, a metal salt, most commonly iron, is added to precipitate ortho-phosphate. The precipitate forms as a solid and is removed. 

Our Batch Reverse Osmosis system offers water companies a new, high efficiency and most importantly, chemical-free, solution to extract residual phosphorus from wastewater and prevent it from entering the environment. The P-rich permeate can then be processed into fertiliser products to be applied in areas where soil nutrient is low. 

If you would like to hear more about this process, please get in touch [email protected]