Linking Phosphorus Extraction from Different Types of Biomass Incineration Ash to Ash Mineralogy, Ash Composition and Chemical Characteristics of Various Types of Extraction Liquids


Phosphorus (P) rich ash from biomass incineration is a potential promising alternative for non-renewable phosphate rock. This study considered the P recovery potential of poultry manure ash, sewage sludge ash and meat and bone meal ash through wet chemical extraction. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that these three ash types had a distinct P mineralogy. If inorganic acids were used for the extraction, the P extraction efficiency was not or only slightly affected by the P mineralogy. Contrarily, for the organic acids, alkaline extraction liquid and chelating agents considered, the P extraction efficiency was highly affected by the P mineralogy, and was also affected by the elemental composition of the ash and/or the chemical characteristics of the extraction liquids. Alkaline extraction liquids showed in general low heavy metal co-extraction, in contrast to the inorganic acids. From an economic point of view, of all extraction liquids considered, sulfuric acid was the most interesting to extract P from all three ash types. Oxalic acid could be a more sustainable option for P extraction from sewage sludge ash. In addition, extraction of poultry manure ash with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid showed a relatively high P extraction efficiency combined with relatively low heavy metal co-extraction.

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    Visual MINTEQ databases do not contain data on the chlorapatite (Ca5(PO4)3Cl) and fluorapatite (Ca5(PO4)3F) solubility. However, in the literature, it was found that for the ash types studied, apatite mainly occurs in the form of hydroxyapatite and only to a lesser extent in the form of chlorapatite and fluorapatite [19, 20, 26, 34]. Therefore, the conclusions in this paragraph are only based on the hydroxyapatite solubility.



Meat and bone meal


Meat and bone meal ash


Poultry manure


Poultry manure ash


Sewage sludge


Sewage sludge ash


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This study was financially supported by BMC Moerdijk BV (Industrial Park M349, Middenweg 36a, 4782 PM Moerdijk, The Netherlands) and Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen (FWO) (Lorien Luyckx is a SB PhD fellow at FWO, Project Number 1S08418N – 1S08420N). Furthermore, we want to thank BMC Moerdijk, Aquafin and Indaver for supplying the PMA, SSA and MBM samples. In addition, we want to thank Antoinette Deschuytere for carefully revising the manuscript.


This study was financially supported by BMC Moerdijk BV (Industrial Park M349, Middenweg 36a, 4782 PM Moerdijk, The Netherlands) and Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen (FWO) (Project Number 1S08418N – 1S08420N).

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Luyckx, L., Sousa Correia, D.S. & Van Caneghem, J. Linking Phosphorus Extraction from Different Types of Biomass Incineration Ash to Ash Mineralogy, Ash Composition and Chemical Characteristics of Various Types of Extraction Liquids. Waste Biomass Valor (2021).

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  • Heavy metal extraction
  • Incineration ash
  • Meat and bone meal
  • Phosphorus extraction
  • Poultry manure
  • Sewage sludge