Toshiba Corp. developed the technology to collect phosphorus from sewage to reuse it as fertilizer. Japan depends totally on import for phosphorus that is the major raw material of chemical fertilizer. The new technology can recycle phosphorus in effluent at a low cost. The company plans to build a recovery unit for trial to put the technology into practical use in the water treatment business. The absorbent used for collection is made of the substance containing calcium and iron. It sorbs phosphorus and collects nearly the whole amount of phosphorus in the sewage. Used absorbents can be used as fertilizer. Toshiba will do the substantiative experiment in the sewage plant, and sell the absorbent and the recovery unit. The collection cost is estimated to be higher than the import price of phosphate rocks, but the technology will be an effective measure for water pollution and resource depletion. Demand for phosphorus is expanding quite rapidly because of the increased food production worldwide, and the price of phosphorus is several times higher than it was five years ago. It is estimated that about 10% of 55,000 tons of imported phosphorus is discharged in effluent to cause red tides.
Related web page: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/tech/review/2008/12/63_12pdf/rd01.pdf