Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 19, pp 19063–19077 | Cite as

An overview of technologies to recover phosphorus as struvite from wastewater: advantages and shortcomings

  • Shayok GhoshEmail author
  • Sergey Lobanov
  • Victor K. Lo
Review Article


Phosphorus (P) is a significant limiting nutrient which is essential for all forms of lives. However, phosphate rock reserves are depleting rapidly due to population growth. At the same time, several countries have imposed legislative regulations on P-release into surface waters due to eutrophication. Nutrient recovery from wastewater can facilitate a sustainable, cost-effective and environment-friendly source of phosphorus. Although P-recovery as struvite from wastewater has been widely studied for a long time, there still exists a lot of challenges for widespread full-scale implementation. This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the technologies for phosphorus recovery in the form of struvite. Fluidized bed reactors (FBRs) are widely used compared to continuously stirred reactors for P-recovery as struvite because of different solid and liquid retention time. Commercially available technologies were reported to accomplish about 80% P-removal efficiencies with a reasonable P-recovery for the most of the cases. The struvite production rate of various technologies varies from 0.89 to 13.7 kg/kg influent P. Nevertheless, these technologies are associated with several shortcomings such as high operational costs, high energy consumption, and large footprint. Increasing efforts focusing on the development of sustainable and commercially feasible technologies are expected in this sector as P-recovery is considered to be the future of wastewater engineering.


Wastewater P-removal P-recovery Struvite Fluidized bed reactor (FBR) Continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringEast West UniversityDhakaBangladesh

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