On January 18th, the new sewage sludge ordinance has passed the German cabinet. It is supposed to pass the parliament and Federal Council of Germany before summer. Intended dates are 31 March for the parliament and 12 May for the council. After more than 10 years of revision and heated debates, the new draft of the German sewage sludge ordinance was sent by the Federal Ministry of Environment (BMUB) to the European Commission (EC) for notification at September 26th 2016. The notification to EC is a typical procedure for new Member State regulations according to directive 2015/1535/EU. The EC has approved without remarks by 27 Dec 2016. The content cannot be changed afterwards except for minor adaptions.
Once approved by both chambers, the new sewage sludge ordinance may enter into force by 1st January 2018. This step will make phosphorus (P) recovery from sewage sludge obligatory for all German wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) larger than 50,000 person equivalents (p.e.), equal to ~500 WWTP out of ~9300 WWTP. They will have to recover the phosphorus if the sludge contains more than 2% phosphorus /DS (dry solids) or have to incinerate the sludge in mono-incinerators. Land application of sludge will only be allowed for WWTP < 50,000 p.e. These ~500 WWTP represent roughly 66% of the total phosphorus removed from German wastewater and transferred into the sludge.
The WWTP above 100,000 p.e. will have to fulfill the new phosphorus recovery requirements by 2029, after a 12 years transition period. The WWTP of 50,000 to 100,000 p.e. get three additional years for implementation. All effected WWTP have to develop phosphorus recovery concepts by 2023.
Currently, 26% of sewage sludge is spread on arable land. This fraction is expected to half as a consequence of the new fertilising ordinance (DüV) and sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV) entering into force. The fertilising ordinance is the German implementation of the nitrates directive and will strongly affect sludge disposal and valorisation in Germany already next year.
The previous European Commissioner for Science and Research and then for the Environment,
Janez Potočnik, has joined the Board of the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform
(ESPP). Mr Potočnik has also previously been a Minister in Slovenia, and is currently Co-Chair of
UNEP International Resource Panel. He will act as an ambassador for sustainable phosphorus
resource management, particularly to national and regional governments, and to the food
ESPP’s General Assembly (1/12/2016, Brussels) elected the following Board:
• President: Ludwig Hermann (Outotec, a global leader in minerals and metals processing technology)
• Treasurer: Bengt Hansen (Kemira, a water treatment chemicals company)
• Secretary : Anders Nättorp (FHNW University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland)
• Herman Walthaus (Netherlands Government)
• Christian Kabbe (DPP German Phosphorus Platform)
• Fertilizers Europe, the European fertiliser industry federation
• Janez Potočnik (proposed by BSAG Baltic Sea Action Group)
The General Assembly fixed the following priority actions for the Platform for 2017
- The revision of the EU Fertilisers Regulation, to cover recycled nutrient products, in
particular adding struvite, biochars and ash-based products (currently not covered) and
enabling traceability to ensure safety and confidence in recycled products susceptible to
contain organic contaminants
- Refining justification for maintaining phosphorus / phosphate rock in the EU Critical Raw
- Developing standards for secondary nutrient raw materials, to accompany recycling
- Sustainable manure management across Europe
Innovation in the chemicals industry
The 2016 General Assembly was followed by a thematic meeting looking at innovation and
sustainability in industrial uses of phosphorus. Sixty participants, mainly from industry, but also
from R&D and the European Commission, explored the wide range of industries in which
phosphorus chemicals are essential, including fire safety, energy storage, electronics, medical
applications, catalysts and lubricants. A number of companies, including Clariant, ICL, Magpie
Polymers, Italmatch, Prayon, ProPHOS and Remondis, presented their actions to make
phosphorus chemistry processes more sustainable.
Success stories presented include recycling of phosphorus (from sewage sludge, from spent
fire extinguishers), and the development of phosphorus chemicals with improved health, safety
and sustainability profiles.
The presentations of the ESPP conference on Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications (01-12-2016) are now online under Downloads and below. The report of the conference is published as a SCOPE newsletter No. 123 article "Phosphorus in the chemicals industry".
The ESPP General Assembly 2016 was followed by a thematic meeting looking at innovation and sustainability in industrial uses of phosphorus. 60 participants, mainly from industry, but also from R&D and the European Commission, explored the wide range of industries in which phosphorus chemicals are essential, including fire safety, energy storage, electronics, medical applications, catalysts, lubricants. Several companies including Clariant, ICL, Magpie Polymers, Italmatch, Prayon, ProPHOS and Remondis, presented company actions to make phosphorus chemistry processes more sustainable. For example, their success stories cover the recycling of phosphorus from sewage sludge and from spent fire extinguishers, and to develop phosphorus chemicals with improved health, safety and sustainability profiles.
Opening: Janez Potocnik - Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel and previous EU Environment Commissioner
Phosphorus: global resources perspective
Willem Schipper – Willem Schipper Consulting
Phosphorus in industry and society
Carl Szöcs – Prayon
Phosphorus recycling initiatives in a multi-sector P company
Chris Slootweg - SUSPHOS network
Circular phosphorus chemistry and knowledge transfer from one sector to another (chemistry, agriculture, industry)
Steve van Zutphen - Magpie Polymers
Metal Scavenging: using low-value phosphorus materials to make metal refining more sustainable
Alexander Maurer - ICL Fertilizers
The RECOPHOS-Process P4 from Sewage Sludge Ashes
Andreas Rak and Martin Lebek - Remondis
Clean technology for P-recycling to phosphoric acid: REMONDIS TetraPhos®
Marco Michelotti and William Grandi - ProPHOS Chemicals
Innovative solution for phosphate recovery from exhausted extinguishing powders (PhoSave Horizon2020 project)
Wolfgang Wanzke – sustainability manager Clariant
Sustainability in the Phosphorus Value Chain: P-based flame retardants and fire retarded plastics
Maria Cristina Pasi - Italmatch Chemicals, Coordinator of the TRIALKYL LIFE project
Reducing the impact of P chemistry
Tomas Turecki – European Commission DG RTD
Industry innovation and phosphorus sustainability in FP7 & H2020
Solon Mias - EU Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
LIFE Environment Water
Report and presentations are now online for the ESPP workshop Pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids (27/10/2016). The main workshop conclusions are:
European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) General Assembly focussing on Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications will be held on Thursday 1st December, Brussels within the First EU Raw Materials Week. Success stories and innovation in P stewardship in industry will be presented and areas for possible research or value-chain collaboration will be identified.
The general programme of the day is as follows, more details in the programme:
8h30 – 10h30 ESPP General Assembly (open to non-members): accounts, election of Board, actions underway and action plan priorities for 2017
10h30 Coffee break
11h00 -17h30 Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications
After more than 10 years of revision, the new draft of the German sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV), which will make phosphorus recovery obligatory for most of Germany’s sewage, has been sent by the Federal Ministry of Environment (BMUB) to the European Commission for notification at September 26th 2016. This notification is the standard procedure for new member state regulations (directive 2015/1535/EU). Once approved by EC, the content cannot be changed afterwards except for minor adaptions. During notification, there is a three months stand-still agreement.
The next steps after notification will be cabinet resolution within the German Federal government in January 2017 and presentation for enactment to the Federal Council of Germany and the Parliament in spring 2017. The new ordinance may thus enter into force with a date 1st January 2018.
The ordinance will make phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge obligatory for all German sewage works larger than 50,000 person equivalents (p.e.), that is, around 500 out of a total of c. 9 300 sewage works in Germany. These 500 larger sewage works represent around 2/3 of the total phosphorus removed from German wastewater and transferred into sludge.
For these larger sewage works, phosphorus recovery will be obligatory if the sludge contains more than 2% phosphorus (dry solids), either by P-recovery from the sludge or by mono-incineration and recovery from sewage sludge incineration ash. If P < 2%, then co-incineration will be authorized. Land application of sludge will only be allowed for sewage works < 50,000 p.e. Currently 29% of German sewage sludge is spread on farmland, and will have to respect the quality criteria of the new German fertilizing ordinance (DüV). The entry into force of these two new ordinances (AbfKlärV and DüV). Is expected to be cut by half the amount of sewage sludge going to farmland.
The new fertilizing ordinance is the German implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive and will already dramatically impact sewage sludge use in Germany in 2017.
Article by Christian Kabbe (former P-REX).
See also: http://www.bmub.bund.de/themen/wasser-abfall-boden/abfallwirtschaft/wasser-abfallwirtschaft-download/artikel/abfklaerv-klaerschlammverordnung
After compost, PVC and non-ferrous metals from bottom ash, struvite will be the fourth secondary resource to be addressed within the International Green Deal North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSRR). Struvite is a specific mineral form of magnesium ammonium phosphate recovered from waste water. A working group of French and Dutch public and private sector experts has its first meeting in the Dutch embassy in Paris on October 7. The case, initiated by Suez, Veolia, Reststoffenunie and Waternet, will focused on the perceived barriers relating to the use of struvite in crystal form. It will specifically explore ways to facilitate the export of struvite recovered from municipal wastewater plants as a raw material for the purpose of producing fertiliser. The initiators hope that this case will be a first step towards creating a European market for struvite.
The European Economic and Social Committee has adopted its ‘Opinion’ on the EU Fertilisers Regulation revision. EESC supports the objective of extending the existing regulation from only mineral fertilisers (at present) to cover organic and waste based fertilisers, subject to ensuring environmental protection, underlining that recycled fertilisers “may in the future constitute an important part of an integrated circular economy” (recalling the EESC Opinion on the Circular Economy jobs and SMEs, 2014). The need to clarify definitions of a “secondary raw material”, waste, by-products, end-of-waste are underlined, pointing to the contradictions in the current text between application to PFCs and CMCs [$4.2 of EESC Opinion]. EESC wants systems of control, labelling (present in the proposed text) and [$1.3] traceability (not present). EESC underlines [$1.9, $4.5] that municipal waste water has potential and value as a raw material for organic fertiliser – whereas this is excluded in the current regulation proposal. EESC also notes [$4.8] the need to exempt from REACH recovered materials beyond compost (EESP comment: e.g. digestate see www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory) .
Opinion of the EESC on the EU Fertilisers Regulation Revision, adopted 13-14 July 2016, refs. NAT/691 – EESC-2016-03054-00-01-AC-TRA (EN) 1/8, rapporteur Cillian Lohan www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.nat-opinions.39587
The programme is now online for the ESPP workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue).
See for more details and registration here.
ESPP’s 2016 General Assembly will take place Brussels, 1st December 2016 (9h – 17h), looking at phosphorus in industry: sustainability, recycling, new applications and processes, P4 and phosphorus chemicals. Tis is within the EU’s First Raw Materials Week parallel to ESPP’s general Assembly, the thematic meeting will enable industry and stakeholder dialogue on developments such as: new uses and applications for phosphorus in industry and energy, P-recovery from waste streams to industrial chemicals and P4, recycling of phosphorus in industry through other routes (e.g. fire safety chemicals, plastics), reducing environmental impact of P chemistry, challenges and opportunities around medical and industry applications nano forms of phosphates.
The EU’s “Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production” (EGTOP) has published its response to two dossiers proposing authorisation of recycled phosphate products as fertilisers in organic agriculture (under EU Organic Farming Regulation 889/2008). The dossier for struvite was submitted by the UK in 2014 and concerns struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) recovered in sewage works or from animal waste processing. The dossier for calcined phosphates was submitted by Austria in 2011 and concerns recovery from ashes of sewage sludge, meat and bone meal (MBM), or other biomass ash. The committee concludes that for Ostara Pearl struvite (the submitted dossier) there is no hygiene risk (organic pollutants or pathogens), but that this is not proven for other struvite production methods. Struvite recovery is noted to be conform to environmental objectives (reduces N and P losses to surface waters, recycles nutrients, reduces consumption of non-renewable P resources) and concludes that struvite should be authorised for organic farming “provided that the method of production ensures hygienic and pollutant safety”. For calcined phosphates, the committee also concludes that recovery from ashes is conform to environmental objectives (but with some concerns about energy consumption) and that calcined phosphates should be authorised for organic farming subject to being recovered from sewage sludge incineration ash and that heavy metal content should be limited (proposal: chromium(VI) non detectable, other heavy metals “minimised”). However, EGTOP also concludes that these two products cannot be authorised under the Organic Farming Regulation until they are authorised under the EU Fertilisers Regulation, so confirming the importance of the ‘STRUBIAS’ process underway to integrate such products into the current revision of this Regulation.
Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP) “Final Report on Organic Fertilizers And Soil Conditioners (II)”, final version 2 February 2016
A meeting was organised by CEN (the European Standardisation Committee) and CENELEC (electrical equipment) on 'Standards for circular economy: waste management and secondary raw materials' in Brussels 8th September. Of around 100 participants, ESPP and the paper industry were maybe the only representatives of the bio-nutrient and bio-materials sector. Yet, the need for standards development to support nutrient recycling and valorisation of bio-waste streams was made clear. Some of the day’s conclusions are strongly applicable to the nutrient circular economy: need to standardise terminology and definitions, including how to measure the recycling rate, importance of public information (e.g. traceability) to develop trust; potential of EN standards to open markets for export; quality standards for input materials, processes and recycled (nutrient) products; benchmarking to indicate for what uses a recycled product is appropriate. The meeting registered that a number of initiatives are underway or expected: EC mandates to CEN for standards development to support the Fertilisers Regulation revision and the EU Circular Economy Package, interface work to identify gaps and incoherence between fertiliser regulations, REACH, waste regulation; BS 8001 proposed standard “Framework for circular economy principles”. This meeting aims to launch a CEN informal process for dialogue on on standards for the circular economy, waste and secondary materials, in which ESPP will actively participate.
Historical SCOPE newsletters about phosphorus and nutrient management are now online on the ESPP website and can be downloaded here.
With the opening of its « Technophos » Centre of Excellence and Technology in Varna, Bulgaria, the Belgian group EcoPhos consolidates its pioneering role in the area of phosphates and phosphorus recycling. For more details see this information, the website and the live stream of the opening.
13 - 15 March, Tampa, Florida, USA.
The only global event for the fertilizer, industrial and feed phosphate markets.
Best practice models from the Nordic countries and Europe, challenges of P recovery and recycling, quality standards and developing secondary markets with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the EU Commission, EPAs of the Nordic Countries, companies and local authorities. Oganized by Swedish Waste Management, Norwegian Waste Management and Recycling Association, and DAKOFA Waste and Resource Network Denmark and is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers in cooperation with the Nordic country national water industry federations.
Programme and registration https://dakofa.com/conference/conference
ESPP is organising a workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue). The workshop will look at which pharmaceuticals and organic consumer chemicals are found in sewage biosolids, at what concentrations, effects of composting, anaerobic digestion, whether there is a risk to health and the environment when treated biosolids are used in agriculture, how levels can be reduced and what further data and research is needed.
See programme for more details. If you are interested in presenting (speaker or poster) please contact with a short summary of your proposed presentation.
ENRD (European Network for Rural Development, funded by the European Commission DG Agriculture) is calling for participants for a Thematic Group on “Resource efficient rural economy”. Deadline for candidates is 27th August 2016. Registration here. More information here.
The George Barley Water Price launched. Everglades teams with Ontario for 11.2 million US$ nutrient removal and recovery challenge. Opening of the challenge is expected before mid- July with first submission deadline end summer 2016, then several rolling submission deadlines.
The Everglades Foundation Grand Challenge for new approaches to remove recycle phosphorus from dilute waters (rivers, drainage ditches, lakes) has now partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Xylem, to offer a total of 11.2 million US$ prizes. For more information, see summary of Everglades Grand Challenge in SCOPE Newsletter n°111.
A new website has been launched and submission application documents will be online at the challenge opening, expected early before mid-July. To be informed and pre-register, create your user profile: www.barleyprize.com
“Everglades Foundation Announces The George Barley Science Prize Competition at White House Event Today”
Summary of the ESPP working meeting on the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision, held Brussels 29 June 2016, can be downloaded here. Presentation by the European Commission and other stakeholders are included as annexes. Background information of the workshop can be found here. See also other inputs of ESPP to the Fertiliser regulation revision process in the Regulatory Activity section.
On 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300.000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE supportOn 17th June, Ostara and Vallei Veluwe water board officially inaugurated the 900 tonnes/year Pearl struvite recovery unit at Amersfoort sewage works, treating sewage from 300.000 population equivalent and sewage sludge from 1 million. With EU LIFE support, the water and sewage treatment plant is energy neutral, and uses thermal hydrolysis (ELIQUO) and WASSTRIP to increase soluble phosphorus release. Objective is to recover 40% of works input P as struvite. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. inaugurated the Ostara unit, noting that the company will have units operating in 14 sewage works worldwide by end 2016. The recovered struvite is sold by Ostara as Crystal Green performance fertiliser prills, with granulometry size grades, hardness, low-dusting and salt index conform to fertiliser industry SGN specifications.
Omzet Amersfoort WWTP information
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Solutions
ELIQUO technology at WWTP Amersfoort
Struvite blues song
ESPP published a SCOPE article overview on struvite as an effective fertiliser which you can read here (page 5). This overview can contribute to the discussion about the effectiviness of struvite, also in the light of the revision of the EU Fertiliser Regulation, see the ESPP website regulatory section.
ESPP will organise a technical meeting on recycled nutrient products in the proposed EU Fertiliser Regulation revision,
29th June 9:00-17:00, Brussels. If you wish to participate in this meeting please indicate to me your name and organisation
The meeting will also discuss:
Comments or proposals on meeting content welcome.
1 = published proposal for EU Fertilisers Regulation revised text 17/3/16: www.ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/15949
2 = comments to date see: www.ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/?fuseaction=feedbackreport&doc_id=3092157
3 = ESPP is selected as a member of this EIP-AGRI Focus Group, as are also several ESPP network participants. First meeting is 31 May – 1 June. The aim is to define research needs, information assessment and communication needs concerning agronomic value and use of recycled nutrient products. ESPP will need input from agronomic experts, researchers and nutrient recyclers. See: www.ec.europa.eu/eip/agriculture/en/news/eip-agri-focus-groups-new-topics-announced
4 = ESPP draft criteria are completed for struvite, ashes, and are under finalisation for biochars, see www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory EU JRC work is being launched to define EU criteria, to add into the Fertiliser Regulation revision. The deadline for candidature for the DG GROW expert group to support JRC work on this is 31st May and first meeting 6-7 July. This point therefore be for information, not for discussion.
On 10 July 2016 in Denver (USA), ESPP will lead an opening plenary session on "Closing the loop for P success stories" at the WEF/IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2016 conference.
Session program can be found here:
More information about the conference here: