Elemental white phosphorus is a strategic raw material with high criticality due to its irreplaceability for key industries, for example in the food, pharmaceutical and electronic sector. Currently, the European Union is completely dependent on white phosphorus imports from Kazakhstan, Vietnam and China. Yet, there are enough phosphorus reserves in Europe veiled in sewage sludge to cover the EU’s whole demand on white phosphorus plus up to 25% of the phosphate consumed in the EU for other applications.
FlashPhos will be the first and unique technology in Europe producing white phosphorus for the chemical industry, providing at the same time a solution for the problematic sewage sludge disposal. It is expected that FlashPhos plants will be able to cover 50% of the European P4-demand by 2040. This will be possible by recycling 15% of the sludge currently generated in Europe.
FlashPhos will significantly contribute to meet five major objectives of European society:
- Recover a critical raw material (CRM), white phosphorus (P4), a strategically important substance irreplaceable for key industries like food and pharmaceuticals.
- Reduce the emission of CO2 by substituting cement clinker – one of the products with the highest CO2-production worldwide – by alternative cement materials. FlashPhos will be connected to cement plants that will use FlashPhos’ fuel gas and waste heat to replace fossil fuels.
- Efficient and lawful energetic utilisation of waste streams by enabling the cement industry to use the chemical energy of sewage sludge and other waste streams without disturbing the cement process with phosphorus, which has a negative influence on cement quality. This will increase the cement industry’s capability of substituting fossil energy by wastes and still comply with coming phosphorus regulations.
- Preservation and enhancement of reliable long-term-available waste treatment capacities by thermally treating sewage sludge, safely removing the sludge’s contaminants from the biosphere and reducing methane emissions from landfills.
- Reduce waste generation and close gaps in the circular economy by demonstrating a real zero-waste process, returning all output mass and energy flows to the industrial cycle, thus contributing to resource efficiency, energy saving and reduction of (hazardous) waste.
- The P4 produced following FlashPhos’ principles will avoid that equivalent P4 will be produced in other places, consuming natural mined Phosphate Rock, which is a finite world resource.