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Mitigating eutrophication by recovering energy and nutrients from manure and sewage sludge

Organisation: Outotec Oyj

Time: 3/5/2013 – 2/1/2017



Phosphorus is an essential and irreplaceable plant nutrient with limited natural resources. The foreseen lack of mineral phosphorus reservoirs poses an urgent need for phosphorus recycling.

When leaking to aquatic bodies, phosphorus constitutes a major environmental problem by causing eutrophication, i.e. massive algal growth.
To abate climate change, substituting fossil energy sources by renewable ones is crucial.

More than twenty million chickens, pigs and cattle in the Leningrad Region produce annually over 600.000 tons of nutrient rich litter and manure. This waste biomass is a source of energy and nutrients if appropriately managed. Currently, it is an environmental problem: nutrient run-off from large-scale animal farms has become among the main pollution threats for the Gulf of Finland and the groundwater reservoirs of the Leningrad Region. In addition, harmful atmospheric emissions are derived from improperly managed manure.

Sewage sludge – when adequately processed – comprises another important source of phosphorus and energy.

Outotec has developed and provides an efficient technical solution to exploit the energy and nutrient potential of a relevant part of the farmyard waste and sewage sludge in the Leningrad Region.
The solution comprises Outotec’s existing biomass incineration solutions based on fluidized bed technology and the later developed ASH DEC process which is appropriate for phosphate recovery from ash that remains as a by-product from incineration of municipal sewage sludge, manure and chicken litter and residues from anaerobic digestion.

Implementation strategy:
– Promotion of combined energy and nutrient recovery technologies to the animal farms and municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Leningrad Region
-Cooperation with relevant stakeholders such as fertilizer manufacturers, energy providers and governments to support the implementation of sustainable “waste-to-energy & nutrient recovery” technologies

-Implementation of the first manure or manure/sewage sludge incineration /AshDec plant to the Leningrad Region as a reference plant

To support the work Outotec will

-Sponsor and participate in the TEKES project “Transition towards a sustainable nutrient economy” lead by Lappeenranta University of Technology and MTT Agrifood Research Finland
-Participate in programs and give papers and presentations at conferences aiming at the dissemination of competitive modern technologies for eutrophication abatement in the Baltic Sea
-Act as a member of the organizing committee of the First EU Sustainable Phosphorus Conference with the Baltic Sea as one of the key topics

To tackle eutrophication of the Gulf of Finland, to abate climate change and to facilitate phosphorus recycling to produce phosphate fertilizers with high fertilizing value.

The Commitment includes a donation of 10,000 EUR/year for the Baltic Sea Action Group.