Phos4You - We deliver Phosphorus "made in Europe"

Project Summary

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Phos4You (P4Y) addresses the phosphorus (P) challenge. P is a nutrient essential for all living organisms. Though it is a finite resource on earth, P is largely wasted today. The EU acknowledged this by adding Phosphate rock to its list of critical raw materials in 2014. There is a need to boost the use of secondary raw P. The project addresses rural, urban and port areas in NWE. P is needed in rural areas as fertilizer or feed additive (often produced in port areas). P is transferred within food to urban areas where 82% of NWE-citizens live in, and wasted there (via sewage and waste). P4Y specifically targets recovery from municipal WWTP. 2015 NWE imports 100% of its mineral P-Need. 45% of the demand could be supplied by circular economy. The project will exploit the recovery potential of P in municipal sewage water (113,000 t/y P), estimated to cover 26% of the mineral P-demand in NWE. When the project ends, NWE taps 3,5% of this potential; 35% after 5y, 90% after 10y. To achieve this change, P4Y supports 44 enterprises by producing demonstrators in real life conditions of 6 P-recovery technologies for municipal sewage water and 5 new products from P-recycling processes for fertilizer. A EU-Standard to assess quality of new fertilizer products from municipal waste water and further outputs increasing social acceptance are developed. To roll-out its main outputs after the project, P4Y: disseminates results over EU and national platforms (ESPP, national nutrient platforms, EIP Water/Agri, TWG Strubias...); prepares an ongoing monitoring of the demonstrators/pilots; develops business plans for the uptake of P-recovery and recycling technologies; meets policy-makers at all territorial levels to develop a consistent legal framework pushing P-recycling forward; joins forces with related projects to strengthen impact; enables transfer of technologies into other sectors & to EU-28.

Project Partners

  • Université de Liège

    7 Place du 20-Août

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  • Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l´Environnement et l´Agriculture

    17 Avenue de Cucillé CS 64427

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  • Cork Institute of Technology - Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre

    Rossa Avenue Bishopstown
    T12 P928

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  • Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz

    6 Bahnhofstrasse

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  • Universiteit Gent

    25 Rectoraat - Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat

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  • Glasgow Caledonian University

    70 Cowcaddens Road
    G4 0BA
    United Kingdom

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  • Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands

    1 Ormlie Road
    Thurso Caithness
    KW14 7EE
    United Kingdom

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  • Veolia Environnement

    1 Rue Giovanni Battista Pirelli B
    Saint Maurice

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  • Emschergenossenschaft

    24 Kronprinzenstrasse

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  • NV HVC

    1 Jadestraat
    1812 RD

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  • Scottish Water

    55 Fairmilehead, Buckstone Terrace
    EH10 6YK
    United Kingdom

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  • Lippeverband

    2 Brüderweg

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Lead partner

Organisation Contact name Address Email Website
Lippeverband Marie-Edith Ploteau 2 Brüderweg
Name Contact Name Email Country
Université de Liège Angélique Léonard Belgium
Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l´Environnement et l´Agriculture Marie-Line Daumer France
Cork Institute of Technology - Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre Joe Harrington Ireland
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz Anders Nättorp Switzerland
Universiteit Gent Erik Meers Belgium
Glasgow Caledonian University Ole Pahl United Kingdom
Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands Barbara Bremner United Kingdom
Veolia Environnement Hervé Paillard France
Emschergenossenschaft Daniel Klein Germany
NV HVC Johan te Marvelde Netherlands
Scottish Water Roi Otero United Kingdom


European Nutrient Event was held succesfully:

The European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform ESPP organized jointly with the Phos4You project, the Swiss partner School of Life Science FHNW, the German Phosphorus Platform DPP and the European Nutrient event from 18th – 20th October 2017 in Basel, Switzerland. With that the official launch of the Phos4You project took place.

The three day event included the

  • Knowledge exchange on Phosphorus recycling legislation and implementation in Switzerland and Germany, a
  • Networking event of leading nutrient Recycling R&D projects across Europe including a fair for Phosphorus recovery technology suppliers, and a
  • Phos4You Project Meeting for project and associated partners.

Switzerland was the first country in the world to make Phosphorus recycling obligatory from Phosphorous-rich waste such as sewage sludge and animal and bone meal. Germany and Austria are also preparing appropriate legislation. Innovative new methods have made it possible to recover a large proportion of the phosphorus contained in sewage sludge and sewage sludge ash.

The European Nutrient Event therefore dealt with the topic of Phosphorus recovery and recycling. On day one, the Swiss Phosphorus Network along with stakeholders from the German-speaking countries discussed the changes taking place in sewage sludge recycling, with particular focus on the recycling of Phosphorus. The German Phosphorus Platform DPP supported the event intensely. They provided an overview of developments, discoveries, challenges and new opportunities.

On day two, the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform jointly with the Phos4You Project invited representatives from a large number of current European R&D projects to discuss common implementation issues. Speakers from EU and even beyond gave their presentations on latest findings. Technology providers showcased their processes in the adjacent Exhibition.

Find here a summary of the event's results:

English Version

German Version


Please find the event's programme here:

English Version


Impressions of the Event:

Stefania Rocca from EASME EU COM presents EU R&D activities on nutrient recycling; further on stage (LTR): Christopher Thornton, ESPP, Burkhard Teichgräber, Lippeverband and Phos4You Lead Partner, Gaëtan Dubois, DG AGRI EU COM, and Erik Meers, University of Gent

Marie-Edith Ploteau, Lippeverband presents the Phos4You partnership

Stephen Rowe, CEO Newtrient USA, presents the Newtrient process and suppliers catalogue via Skype



Find presentations held as download here:

18. October 2017 (presentations held in German)

Kaarina Schenk, BAFU: Phosphorus recycling in Switzerland: How to go on?

Christian Kabbe, KWB / Hans-Walter Schneichel, MUEEF: Regulatory requirements for Phosphorus recovery in Germany – consequences

Anders Nättorp, FHNW: Sewage sludge disposal and Phosphorus recovery, Options in Switzerland and Europe

Alain Zaessinger, ProRheno: Concept for sewage sludge disposal in Northwestern Switzerland

Christoph Egli, AVA Altenrhein: Sewage sludge drying as starting Point for disposal and recovery, results from alcaline pyrolysis

Christoph Egli, VSA: Phosphorus recovery from waste water

Claudio Bianculli, ZAB: Mono-incineration plants – a starting point for Phosphorus recovery

Stefan Schlumberger, ZAR: Phosphorus mining from sewage sludge – the Phos4life process as option for the Swiss Phosphorus strategy

Otto Schwarzmann, SUN Nürnberg: Mephrec: sewage sludge disposal and Phosphorus recovery in one, results from pilot Trials

Matthias Mann, Küttner GmbH & Co KG: The Kubota furnace and its potential for Phosphorus recovery

Marie-Edith Ploteau, Lippeverband: Technology demonstrations in Phos4You – options for Switzerland?

Else Bünemann-König, FiBL: Plant availability of Phosorus in recycling fertilizer

Maurice Jutz, FHNW: Phosphorus Network Switzerland – Information across sectors and networking for implementation

Sébastien Meunier, Summary and perspective


19. October 2017 (presentations held in English)

Burkhard Teichgräber, Lippeverband: Welcome and keynote: Reasons to engage in nutrient recovery for a public water board

Eric Jakob, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs: Environmental challenges as drivers for innovation and prosperity

Christopher Thornton, ESPP: EU policies and challenges and this event’s objectives and programme

Stefania Rocca, EASME, EU COM: EU Research and Development activities: HORIZON2020, LIFE, SME instrument

Gaëtan Dubois, DG AGRI, EU COM: Nutrients Recycling under the EIP AGRI and Horizon2020

Steven Rowe, Newtrient USA: Industry operational assessment of manure processing and nutrient Recycling technologies – widening the Newtrient process and suppliers catalogue to Europe?

Leading nutrient Recycling R&D Projects - Project pitch

Workshop on common challenges - results

Phos4You at the ENVIRON2018 in Cork, Ireland

The know-how exchange between Irish experts and Phos4You partnership created an exciting week before Easter:

From Monday, the 26th March 2018 on, the Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium - in short Environ 2018 - took place in Cork, Ireland. This year’s colloquium was organised in a joint partnership between the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), partner in Phos4You.

The Phos4You partners could present their topics of current research within the project, in order to disseminate project’s results and share with the conference’s participants:

Key note:

Session about Waste management

Session “Waste management 2”

Poster presentation:


All abstracts have been published in the conference proceedings of the Environ 2018: “Environ 2018, Arriving at a Sustainable Future”, Cork Institute of Technology and Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland, Cork, March 2018

The printed version can be requested from the Environ 2018 organising committee; please contact Dr Joe Harrington: joe.harrington (at)


Read more about the Conference:


Following the Environ 2018, the 3rd working group meeting of the Phos4You partnership took place, starting on Wednesday afternoon, March 28th.

In the session “Status of construction and operation of the demonstrators”, the pilot plants were presented by the responsible partner. Schedule, location and products of the demonstrators were discussed in order to plan the next joint activities.

The next session was dedicated to the quality assessment activities. The University of Ghent presented first tests with commercially available products, selected methods at partners´ labs, as well as literature review on assessment methods. Next steps were discussed and planned jointly by all partners.

In the later afternoon parallel sessions took place: One - led by the University of Liège - highlighted the set-up of the process to carry out the LCA&LCC analysis .The other - moderated by the Glasgow Caledonian University - was about stakeholder engagement plans for Scotland/Ireland, which was the follow-up of the February meeting that took place also in Cork, Ireland.


Thursday, March 29th, was starting with the session about the Decision-Support-Tool to help operators of waste water treatment plants to select a suitable P-recovery technology. IRSTEA, France, presented linkages with a Decision-Support-Tool in the H2020-DECISIVE project, first data collection, parameters of recovery systems. The next steps and work flow with LCA activities were discussed with all involved partners.

Surely a highlight of the day was the “Irish session”: To understand the specific Irish context, representatives from CIT, Irish Water, Cork County Council, Devenish Nutrition and Ostara were present. Topics were the “Irish National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan”, “Sludge Production and Recovery in County Cork”, “Agronomic Factors Affecting Phosphorus and the Importance of Phosphorus in the Irish Agricultural Sector” as well as “Crystal Green, Field Trials and End of Waste Criteria in an Irish Context”.

A site visit to the CIT facilities to carry out field trials within Phos4You was consequently the adequate wrap-up of this session.

The final Working Groups were organized in parallel sessions, each focusing on one specific product from the demonstrators. Key question was to jointly plan “How will recycling pathways of the products coming out of the Phos4You demonstrators be showcased.” The discussion included involved users, logistical aspects, conditioning, schedule and next steps.

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