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P scarcity in Der Spiegel

April 22, 2010

There’s a nice article featuring Dana Cordell (Phosphorus Futures) just out in Der Spiegel (link) discussing the P scarcity issue.  Most fascinating was its discussion of a new enterprise in Europe, “Ash to Cash” which is commercializing P recovery from the wastewater sludge stream. Of course, the P that can be recovered from the human wastewater stream is just a small % of what is needed to close the human P cycle.  We need especially to reduce P loss at the field and to reduce P loss during food processing and animal production.

Nevertheless, it seems that awareness is growing and the wondrous complexity of the human enterprise and ingenuity is beginning to mobilize on this issue.  But can we respond quickly and responsibly ?  Eager for more ideas…

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 2, 2010 2:52 am

    I was stationed in Western Iraq 2007-8 and visited phosphate mines. Western Iraq is full of the stuff. I visited one quarry near Akashat and wrote a blog entry (with pictures)

    The director told me that his mine could produce 3.5 million tons a year for fifty years. I don’t really know what that compares to, but I do know that there are lots of untapped phosphates there. The railroad runs to the mine. It was not working when I was there, but the tracks are still intact and it can be a big business. I also wrote re the infrastructure

    Do you know anything about this mine?

    I also grow pine trees in Virginia. Our soils are deficient in P and N. We get both from biosolids. I think that is a good source. I wrote a post re that too –

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