Past studies have shown that phosphate recovery in the form of struvite is relatively a simple process, which can be achieved by adding a magnesium source in stored urine. However, struvite recovery process at a decentralised level becomes uneconomical due to high input cost of magnesium salts and operational cost. While use of cheaper alternative magnesium sources such as bittern, low-grade MgO and wood ash could lead to partial cost reduction, it is also important to reduce the overall operational costs to make struvite recovery process economically viable and sustainable. In this study, a continuous flow reactor was developed for low-cost struvite recovery from stored urine at decentralised community scale operations. Our study revealed that over 81.2% of phosphate present in urine can be recovered in the form of struvite. Comparison of results from stirred and unstirred experiments shows that higher recovery efficiency is obtained due to minimal loss of fines. Operation and financial assessment of the process shows that struvite recovery can be profitable due to continuous operation of the reactor requiring minimal process control and manpower requirement.
Simple and low cost decentralised struvite reactors are not available. Use of low operating cost and continuous flow reactor can help in reducing the operational costs significantly.