Researchers at the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences have taken an important step towards full circularity of phosphate recycling in the SusPhos process. In a project financed by a 'Gouden KIEM' grant from NWO and ChemistryNL, they have succeeded at lab scale in recovering the magnesium used as a process additive.
The SusPhos process was developed four years ago by ing. Bas de Jong, Dr Marissa de Boer and Dr Chris Slootweg. The process enables the recovery of phosphates from wastewater for high-value applications such as flame retardants. In 2019, a startup was founded under the same name, which, under De Boer's leadership, is making the move to industrial-scale recycling.
SusPhos' phosphate recycling is via struvite, a mineral that, in addition to phosphate and ammonium, also contains magnesium: its chemical formula is Mg(NH4)PO4. Initially, the focus of SusPhos was on phosphate and ammonium but now the researchers have also turned to magnesium. Recent laboratory results indicate that it should also be possible to reuse the added magnesium in functional products with market potential. When this will also possible on a larger scale, the process can become 100% circular. The UvA and SusPhos BV will continue to work together to realize other end products in the field of circular chemistry.