Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3954–3964 | Cite as

A new thermodynamic approach for struvite product quality prediction

  • Bing Li
  • Irina Boiarkina
  • Wei YuEmail author
  • Brent Young
Research Article


Struvite precipitation has drawn much attention in the last decade as a green chemical process for phosphorus removal and recovery. Product purity affects the usefulness, and thus price, of the product when recovered struvite is sold as fertilizer. However, there is currently little research on struvite quality, as well as on models for accurately predicting. This paper presents an alternative approach to the traditional thermodynamic model where the solid with the largest positive saturation index precipitates first, depleting the concentrations of constituent ions before the next solid can precipitate. In the new thermodynamic approach, all solids with a positive saturation index precipitate simultaneously, and deplete the common pool of available ions in tandem. It was validated against experimental data, compared with the traditional thermodynamic models and a previously developed empirical model. The proposed new approach was more accurate than other models, except when both the ammonium nitrogen and magnesium concentrations were very low, a condition not likely to be encountered in industry. Therefore, this model is more suited for predicting the performance of struvite precipitation under varying wastewater conditions.


Struvite Thermodynamic model Purity Coprecipitation 



We would like to thank Dr Phil Schneider from James Cook University for suggestions on the model development.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical & Materials EngineeringUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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