Comparative environmental life cycle assessment of phosphorus recovery with different generations of the AirPrex® systems

  • K. ZhouEmail author
  • C. Remy
  • C. Kabbe
  • M. Barjenbruch
Original Paper


Phosphorus (P) recovery through struvite is already both technically and economically feasible. This has been proved by more than 40 large-scale plants worldwide. However, when designing and implementing these P-recovery technologies, the environmental effects need to be considered. Therefore, a comparative environmental life cycle assessment of phosphorus recovery with different generations of the AirPrex® reactors at WWTP Wassmannsdorf and Amsterdam West was carried out in this study. Results show that both AirPrex® configurations with 1 reactor and 3 reactor have positive energy benefits and better environmental credits for the global warming potential (GWP), freshwater eutrophication potential, and marine eutrophication potential. The 3-reactor configuration shows better results in cumulative energy demand with 35% improvement of energy surplus, 36% reduction of GWP and less eutrophication potential. These improvements are mainly due to optimized struvite precipitation and harvesting and show that technology can be developed further, especially in plant operation and not only in the laboratory or pilot plant.

Graphical Abstract


Climate change Energy demand Environmental impact Eutrophication Phosphorus recovery Struvite 



At this point we would like to acknowledge all persons involved in the project P-REX and the WWTP operators and colleagues, who helped us to conduct this study. And especially thanks to Alex Veltman of Waternet at WWTP Amsterdam West and Andreas Lengemann, Bernd Heinzmann of Berliner Wasserbetriebe at WWTP Wassmannsdorf; Fabian Kraus and Ulf Miehe from the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water. P-REX was financially supported by the European Commission (FP7 project P-REX, Grant Agreement #308645).

Supplementary material

13762_2018_1881_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1875 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berlin Centre of Competence for WaterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Urban Water ManagementTechnical University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Isle Utilities (Europe)BerlinGermany

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