Energy and P recovery – University of Copenhagen

ReUseWaste > Research > WP5 Energy and P recovery

Energy and P recovery

The aim of this work package is: 

  • To develop and assess new technologies for bioenergy production from manure.
  • To improve and test technologies for P recovery from manures
  • To develop new methods for combining methane production and P recovery


Combined chemical-physical treatment and separation of animal manures (as developed in WP4) will affect the degradability and potential for anaerobic methane formation of the separation products, especially the solid fraction. Anaerobic digestion converts the easily decomposable organic matter to biogas (CH4 and CO2, Møller et al. 2004) and the energy yield depends on the substrate composition, and any pre-treatment (temperature, chemical, physical) of the substrate. 

In the anaerobic digestion process organically bound nutrients are mineralized and up-concentrated, which may improve opportunies for biofertiliser production from the digestate, improving possibility for phosphorus (P) utilisation. Market price of P has currently been increasing, and world reserves decrease. This drives opportunities for sophisticated P-recovery treatments, which reduces the problems with P firmly bound to organic matter, iron, calcium and aluminium compounds, but the influence of anaerobic digestion process parameters are largely unknown.

Anaerobic digestion still leaves substantial amounts of sludge and supernatant that require further treatment and disposal. In contrast, emerging thermal conversion technologies, e.g. pyrolysis and gasification (Bridgwater et al., 2003; Higman et al. 2008) require treatment times of minutes to hours; convert most organic matter into energy-rich and valuable end products such as combustible gases, liquids, and biochars (Briens et al., 2008). These thermal process and end products can be used as energy intermediates for combined heat and power generation or feedstocks for downstream catalytic conversion processes to produce higher value products such as liquid transportation fuels. The chars (Lehmann and Joseph, 2009) can be used as feedstock for the gasification, for restoring C to depleted soils or can be activated to use for water treatment.

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