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Factor X pp 261-273 | Cite as

The Limited Resources of Phosphorus and How to Close the Phosphorus Cycle

  • Christian Kabbe
Chapter
Part of the Eco-Efficiency in Industry and Science book series (ECOE, volume 30)

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is one of the elements of life and can neither be substituted nor synthesised. Despite a relatively high phosphorus content of 0.1 % in the earth’s crust, the availability of this key element in fertilisers is limited. Approximately 90 % of all the mined phosphorus is used for food production. Therefore, limited availability can lead us to scarcity within decades, considering the increasing demand for food of a growing population around the globe. To prevent the looming crisis, ecological, economical, political and even social aspects have to be considered. New techniques for the recovery of phosphorus from waste have been in focus of research and development, not only since the spiking prices for phosphorus in 2008. Germany needs to import more than 100,000 metric tons of phosphorus annually, due to a lack of own natural deposits. Therefore, the German government launched a funding programme to promote the research and development, as well as the large-scale implementation of new techniques in the field of nutrient recovery, especially phosphorus. Several political instruments are currently in discussion to promote the development and implementation of phosphorus recycling in Germany. Currently, a strategy for the sustainable use of phosphorus is under discussion. The implementation of suggested measures will contribute to the conservation of natural resources by closing the modern phosphorus cycle.

Keywords

Sewage Sludge Phosphate Rock Waste Water Treatment Plant Bone Meal White Phosphorus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KompetenzZentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbHBerlinGermany

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