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Hamburger Phosphorrecyclinggesellschaft mbH (HPHOR), a joint venture between HAMBURG WASSER (60%) and REMONDIS Aqua (40%), laid the foundation stone for the world’s first ever phosphorus recovery facility in Hamburg in 2019. Both this facility and the public private partnership, which was founded to set it up and operate it, is acting as a role model beyond Germany’s borders as well – once again demonstrating what innovative advances can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together.
Phosphorus is a raw material that is essential for all forms of life on earth. According to the Geological Institute, our planet’s natural supplies of this material will have run out within the next 150 years. This new facility is recovering phosphorus from sewage sludge ash using the TetraPhos® process, a system that was developed by REMONDIS and has already been presented with the GreenTec Award. Each year, the plant produces around 7,000 tonnes of ultrapure phosphoric acid from ca. 20,000 tonnes of sewage sludge, which is then marketed under the brand name RePacid®. As a result, these two companies are showing how natural resources can be conserved in a truly sustainable and future-proof way. An important development as the UBA [Federal Environment Agency] expects the global demand for phosphorus to have exceeded supply between 2051 and 2092. With this in mind, the German government has stipulated that phosphorus must, by law, be recovered from wastewater from 2029 onwards.
Following the commissioning of the plant in 2020, HPHOR is the first company to fulfil this new law and systematically recover phosphorus on an industrial scale. This success clearly illustrates how collaboration work between public and private sector partners can make a decisive contribution towards conserving resources and promoting sustainable development. Something that not only directly benefits local inhabitants and local communities but also adds sustainable value to society as a whole: “Building this phosphorus recovery facility is an important project for Hamburg as an innovative business location. Recovering phosphorus lessens the impact humans have on the environment and enables a valuable substance to be reused,” commented Dr Peter Tschentscher, Hamburg’s First Mayor.
This innovative raw material recovery project is being supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) with funds from the BMU’s Environmental Innovation Programme.
Max Arnold Köttgen, board member of REMONDIS SE & Co. KG, explained: “Recovering phosphorus using REMONDIS’ TetraPhos® process meets both the expectations of the public and our social responsibility to protect natural resources. This system was developed by REMONDIS and is yet another example of how innovative our business is. It also clearly shows that recycling can be cost effective. Thanks to this system, we have not only already succeeded in meeting legal requirements that will come into force in the future, we have also further cemented our long-standing collaboration work with the City of Hamburg.”
In 2019, the foundation stone – a symbol of this strong collaboration work – was laid by (from left to right): Nathalie Leroy, Managing Director of HAMBURG WASSER, Dr Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of Hamburg, Jens Kerstan, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of HAMBURG WASSER and Environment Senator, Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group, and Max Arnold Köttgen, REMONDIS Board Member
Max Arnold Köttgen, Board Member of REMONDIS SE & Co. KG
Being the private sector partner in this collaboration and a specialist in delivering successful and expert water management, REMONDIS Aqua has been able to contribute its top quality work and years of experience to this public private partnership. This joint project is an engine for innovation and job growth in the Hanse City of Hamburg.
Hamburger Phosphorrecyclinggesellschaft mbH (HPHOR)
60% HAMBURG WASSER (Hamburger Stadtentwässerung AöR)
40% REMONDIS Aqua
Processed sewage sludge ash:
ca. 20,000 tonnes / year