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The complete thermochemical recycling of sewage sludge

Project description

Recovering white phosphorus from sewage sludge

White phosphorus is a strategic raw material for the food and pharmaceutical industries. While there are enough phosphorus reserves in Europe’s sewage sludge to cover the EU’s whole demand for white phosphorus, currently the EU largely depends on imports. The EU-funded FlashPhos project will recover high-quality white phosphorus at large scale using sewage sludge as input material. FlashPhos will break new ground by evaporating or melting the waste components, which are then separated to produce white phosphorus and other valuable raw materials without waste to dispose of. Accompanying the technical demonstration, the project will show the role of the innovative FlashPhos process in European industry from an ecological and socio-economical perspective.


FlashPhos is a demand-driven industrial innovation action following a circular economy approach aiming to design, construct, test and optimise an industrial test facility at an average TRL of 6-7 to recover the CRM white phosphorus, a climate-friendly alternative cement and other valuable materials from sewage sludge and other problematic wastes.

The FlashPhos consortium is a multi-disciplinary European team of renowned partners from 3 large industrial companies, 9 SMEs, 2 NGOs and 2 universities, with all necessary know-how to fulfil the afore-mentioned tasks. The consortium has contact with relevant EU industries (e.g. phosphorus, metal, chemical, waste management and technique) and authorities.
FlashPhos will contribute to all six EIP on raw materials objectives by developing an innovative process in a pilot action to recycle industrial wastes, producing a CRM and alternative raw materials, reducing CO2 emissions and turning even contaminants into useful products. Thus the process will foster circular economy and reduce the burden on the environment and society.

Assuming growing sludge amounts in Europe and the EU’s commitment to P-recovery, FlashPhos will be able to recycle 1.5 Mt/a of sewage sludge dry matter by 2050, corresponding to 15% of the current sludge amount. Subsequently FlashPhos will generate enough white phosphorus to cover 50% of the European demand. The production of alternative cement and the use of renewable energy in cement production will save the emission of 1.8 Mt CO2 per year. Additional CO2-savings are achieved by rerouting sewage sludge from land use, landfill or inefficient incineration to FlashPhos.
All FlashPhos partners will use their knowledge gained in the project to participate in the exploitation of FlashPhos by marked launch, planning, consulting, providing plant technology and hardware as well as product sales, thus strengthening their own position on the market and Europe's independence from external suppliers.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 2 334 712,50
Keplerstrasse 7
70174 Stuttgart

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Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart Stuttgart, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (17)