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Scaleup for a new P-recovery process

By Gerald Ondrey |

Last month, AVA-CO2 AG (Zug, Switzerland; www.ava-co2.com) started up a pilot plant to further develop its AVA cleanphos process. The process recovers valuable phosphorus from “biocoal,” which is being produced from municipal wastewater sewage sludge through the company’s patented hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process. The HTC process offers an economically interesting alternative to mono-incineration and other conventional sludge-treatment methods by allowing the use of HTC coal as a replacement for fossil coal in, for example, cement kilns. In addition, the process allows for an efficient phosphorus recovery, which in Germany will soon be required by an amendment in the German Sewage Sludge Ordinance, says chief marketing officer Thomas Kläusli. Dewatered sludge enters the HTC reactor where it is heated up to a temperature of around 210°C. At a pressure of 22 bars and in the absence of O2, the sludge is “cooked” for 2–4 h. Under these conditions, the sludge undergoes a number of thermo-chemical reactions — mainly hydrolysis, carbonization and condensation — to create a slurry of HTC coal. After separating the water from the solids with filter presses, the HTC coal is then leached with acid to remove phosphorus,…
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