Upcycling phosphate rich waste streams to replace fossil-sourced products

What is the Challenge?

Phosphorus is essential for life and is used in fertilizers, flame-retardants and many other chemical products. Each year, about 263 million tons of phosphate rock is open-pit mined and transformed to these products. During and after use, approximately 80% of this phosphorus is then wasted and ends up in waste-water and water bodies leading to pollution, uncontrolled algae growth and major health risks for humans and animals. Both, the unsustainable sourcing of phosphorus as well as the uncontrolled pollution by phosphorus must change, but how?

What is the Solution?

Using a unique and patented technology, the Dutch company SusPhos has developed a sustainable circular technical solution to upcycle phosphate from waste streams, to be able to generate high-quality alternatives of fossil-sourced products. With the aim to create “urban mines” in Europe, SusPhos extracts phosphate from waste streams, such as sewage sludge ashes. This form of upcycling gives phosphate added value on both the supplier and customer side, and at the same time prevents incinerated sludge from being dumped in old mines, as often happens today.

SusPhos has several patented technologies on pilot level and is currently preparing for its first full-size plant to be launched in 2026. The patented processes can produce a number of high-quality phosphate products, ranging across several markets, like for example fertilizer and flame-retardant industries. Besides phosphate products, SusPhos also produces recycled coagulants to be used for water treatment and other chemicals.