Recovering phosphorus as critical raw material (CRM) from municipal wastewater.

Phos4You addresses the phosphorus (P) challenge. P is a nutrient essential for all living organisms. Though it is a finite resource on earth, P is largely wasted today. The EU acknowledged this by adding phosphate rock to its list of critical raw materials in 2014. There is a need to boost the use of secondary raw P. 

The project addresses rural, urban and port areas in North West Europe (NWE). P is needed in rural areas as fertilizer or feed additive (often produced in port areas). P is transferred from food to urban areas where 82% of NWE-citizens live, and wasted there (via sewage and waste). Phos4You specifically targets recovery from municipal waste water treatment plants (WWTP). 

In 2015, NWE imported 100% of its mineral P-need. 45% of the demand could be supplied by circular economy. The project will exploit the recovery potential of P in municipal sewage water (113,000 t/y P), estimated to cover 26% of the mineral P-demand in NWE. When the project ends, NWE taps 3,5% of this potential; 35% after 5 years, 90% after 10 years. 

To achieve this change, Phos4You supports 44 enterprises by producing demonstrators in real life conditions of 6 P-recovery technologies for municipal sewage water and 5 new products from P-recycling processes for fertilizer. A EU-Standard to assess quality of new fertilizer products from municipal waste water and further outputs increasing social acceptance are developed. 

To roll-out its main outputs after the project, Phos4You will disseminate results over EU and national platforms (ESPP, national nutrient platforms, EIP Water/Agri, TWG Strubias, ...); prepare an ongoing monitoring of the demonstrators/pilots; develop business plans for the uptake of P-recovery and recycling technologies; meet policy-makers at all territorial levels to develop a consistent legal framework pushing P-recycling forward; join forces with related projects to strengthen impact; enable transfer of technologies into other sectors and to EU member states.

Check the project website

Discover the deliverables

Project coordinator 

  • Université de Liège, Belgium 

Project Partners    

  • Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l´Environnement et l´Agriculture, France
  • Cork Institute of Technology - Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre, Ireland       
  • Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Switzerland           
  • Universiteit Gent, Belgium             
  • Glasgow Caledonian University, Ireland
  • Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Ireland
  • Veolia Environnement, Netherlands
  • Emschergenossenschaft, Germany 
  • NV HVC, Netherlands
  • Scottish Water, United Kingdom