Phosphorus (P) is a crucial and non-renewable resource, while it is excessively discharged via sewage, significant amounts originating from human urine. Recovery of P from source-separated urine presents an opportunity not only to recover this precious resource but also to improve downstream sewage treatment works. This paper proposes a simple and economic method to recover urine derived P by using seawater as a low-cost precipitant to form struvite, as Hong Kong has practised seawater toilet flushing as an alternative water resource since 1958. Chemical reactions, process conditions and precipitate composition for P precipitation in urine have been investigated to develop this new urine P recovery approach. This study concluded that ureolysis extent in a urine-seawater mixture determines the reaction pH that in turn influences the P recovery efficiency significantly; 98% of urine P can precipitate with seawater within 10min when 40-75% of the urea in urine is ureolysed; the urine to seawater ratio alters the composition of the precipitates. The P content in the precipitates was found to be more than 9% when the urine fraction was 40% or higher. Magnesium ammonium phosphate (MAP) was confirmed to be the predominant component of the precipitates.
- Phosphorus recovery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecological Modelling
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal