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12.7
phd project

Transformation of phosphorus precipitates in manure to vivianite for recovery

Motivation
Manure is an important source of nutrients but the volume of the production and the composition is not always in balance with demands in agriculture. Manure spreading on agricultural land is especially hindered by the phosphorus concentration in the manure. Therefore, it is interesting to develop ways to deplete manure in a selective way from phosphorus and to recover this phosphorus in a concentrated form. Already many approaches have attempted this but require significant pH changes and associated chemicals use. In this project a new approach will be tested where (waste) iron salts are added to manure to transform most of the inorganic phosphorus into vivianite that can then be recovered from the manure via magnetic separation. The concept builds on existing work to recover vivianite in a similar way from sewage sludge.

Research Challenge
The main research focus in this project is to understand the complex interactions between phosphorus, sulphur, organic matter and iron in the manure. Iron has the ability to form vivianite but part of the iron will not be effective as it will bind to sulphur and organic matter in the manure matrix. Preliminary experiments have shown that more iron is lost in manure compared to sewage sludge. A better fundamental understanding of these interactions will help to design an effective strategy to form vivianite. Potentially also recovery of ironsulphide might be possible in conjuction with vivianite recovery. Understanding of these interactions is also relevant for other matrices than manure, like sewage sludge and lake sediments. Therefore also these matrices will be studied as part of this project to understand similarities and differences.

Requirements
We are either looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in chemical or environmental engineering or other disciplines related to this topic (for instance geochemistry, animal science). Your social skills and curiosity make it possible for you to benefit from the multi-disciplinary environment to find creative, new approaches to the research challenge. You are able to work independently.

This project is part of a EU-financed Innovative Training Network called RecaP, and comes with two additional requirements:

These requirements are set by the EC in order to stimulate the mobility of early-stage researchers in Europe.

Partnership
The PhD student will be based at Wetsus in Leeuwarden and co-supervised by TU Delft.

Promotor: Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht (Technical University Delft)

Wetsus supervisor: Dr. Leon Korving

This specific research project will be part of the Phosphate Recovery research theme where also other research projects are taking place directed towards phosphate recovery from sewage sludge and manure. Water authorities Limburg and Brabanste Delta, Vandcenter Syd,  Kemira, Aquaminerals and Aquacare are the industry participants in this research theme. The project will take place in close collaboration with South Denmark University (Kasper Reitzel) and will involve a secondment for at least 2 months to this institute during the first year. 

The EU project RecaP focusses on an interdisciplinary approach to the phosphorous problem. You will be part of network of 15 PhD students working on all different aspects phosphorus management in different EU countries. The RecaP project includes several workshops, courses and secondments to one of the other research facilities and/or partners in the project. For more information about RecaP, click here.

The project will take place in close collaboration with South Denmark University (Kasper Reitzel) and will involve a secondment for at least 2 months to this institute during the first year. 

For more information contact leon.korving@wetsus.nl

Location
Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

12.7 Transformation of phosphorus precipitates in manure to vivianite for recovery

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