Optimization of P compounds recovery from aerobic sludge by chemical modeling and response surface methodology combination

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Jun 10;668:668-677. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.055. Epub 2019 Mar 5.


Phosphorus recovery has drawn much attention during recent years, due to estimated limited available quantities, and to the harmful environmental impact that it may have when freely released into aquatic environments. Struvite precipitation from wastewater or biological sludge is among the preferred approaches applied for phosphorus recovery, as it results in the availability of valuable fertilizer materials. This process is mostly affected by pH and presence of competitive ions in solution. Modeling and optimization of the precipitation process may help understanding the optimal conditions under which the most efficient recovery could be achieved. In this study, a combination of chemical equilibrium modeling and response surface methodology (RSM) was applied to this aim to aerobic sludge from a plant in Italy. The results identify optimum chemical parameters values for best phosphorus precipitation recovery and removal efficiencies, respectively. Identification of optimal conditions for process control is of great importance for implementing pilot scale struvite precipitation and achieve efficient phosphorus recovery.

Keywords: Modeling; Optimization; Phosphates; Phosphorous recovery; Phosphorous removal; Struvite; Wastewater.

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Italy
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Phosphorus