European Project FlashPhos

Sustainable production of high-quality white phosphorus using sewage sludge

Elemental white phosphorus (P4) is a strategic raw material with high criticality due to its irreplaceability for key industries, for example in the food and pharmaceutical sector. Although there are sufficient phosphorus reserves veiled in sewage sludge in Europe, the European Union is almost completely dependent on imports of white phosphorus from Kazakhstan, Vietnam and China. The aim of FlashPhos is therefore to demonstrate at a large scale a thermochemical process to sustainably produce high-quality white phosphorus using sewage sludge as input material. FlashPhos will be the first and unique technology in Europe producing white phosphorus for the chemical industry, providing at the same time a solution for the problematic sewage sludge disposal. This will be possible in an economically and ecologically sound and climate-friendly circular economy process.

Converting sewage sludge into clean secondary raw materials and usable heat

The FlashPhos process is a high temperature fast reacting (flash) entrained flow gasification of sewage sludge and other secondary phosphate sources such as meat-and-bone meal. Output materials of the process are recycled P4 as the main product, a climate-friendly alternative cement raw material, an iron alloy and a heavy metal concentrate as valuable outputs for the metal industry. The gas generated during gasification and the excess heat can be used in cement plants to substitute fossil fuels. Consequently, various valuable raw materials, all used in European industries and some substituting critical or CO2-relevant raw materials, will be generated by the innovative and cost-efficient FlashPhos process with practically no emissions or waste.

Market Introduction by 2028

During the four-year innovation action, the industrial FlashPhos process will be demonstrated in a pilot plant with up to 400 kg/h sewage sludge throughput. By 2025, the first full-scale FlashPhos pilot plant in Europe is expected to be built. Together with an industrial consortium, the project partners envision starting the production of white phosphorus on an industrial scale in 2028.

The project is coordinated by the University of Stuttgart. The SEZ accompanied the proposal and, as a project partner, is taking on the role of administrative management, dissemination and exploitation of project results and communication.

Project duration: 05/2021-04/2025
Participating countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958267.

Portrait Jennifer Bilbao
Dr. Jennifer Bilbao
0711 123 4025