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Urban Mining is the future

Published: 2 June 2014

In the project North Waste Infrastructure where Luleå University of Technology´s research group in waste technology are a participant they are working with the extraction of phosphorus from the society´s garbage.

- There is much money to be made to extract phosphorus from waste. There are researchers who believe that the earth's phosphorus reserves can run out in 50 years, says Thomas Fägerman.

Within the research field of waste technology at Luleå University of Technology they work with all levels of the society's disposal - formation, collection, treatment, and disposal of waste, including utilization and recycling. The research aims to develop tools and methods for sustainable waste management.

- We want to reuse the phosphorus already present in society, especially in household waste. Waste treatment residues from anaerobic digestion and incineration are high in nutrients that can be used in agriculture and forestry. We must, however through research assurance that these materials will not cause any negative impact on the environment, says Jurate Kumpiene, Assistant Professor in waste technology at Luleå University.

Source: YouTube / Bodens kommun
Length of video: 4:00

Thomas Fägerman is the project manager for the North Wastewater Infrastructure where Luleå University of Technology´s  research group in waste technology are included.

Wikipedia: The vast majority of phosphorus compounds are consumed as fertilisers. Other applications include the role of organophosphorus compounds in detergents, pesticides and nerve agents, and matches.

Phosphorus is essential for life. As phosphate, it is a component of DNA, RNA, ATP, and also the phospholipids that form all cell membranes. Demonstrating the link between phosphorus and life, elemental phosphorus was historically first isolated from human urine, and bone ash was an important early phosphate source. Phosphate minerals are fossils. Low phosphate levels are an important limit to growth in some aquatic systems. The chief commercial use of phosphorus compounds for production of fertilisers is due to the need to replace the phosphorus that plants remove from the soil, and its annual demand is rising nearly twice as fast as the growth of the human population.

Contact at Luleå University of Technology

Jurate Kumpiene

Kumpiene, Jurate - Professor and Head of Subject

Organisation: Waste Science and Technology, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Phone: +46 (0)920 493020
Room: T2334 - Luleå»