Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) is an innovative and effective destruction method for organics in sewage sludge. The SCWO process leaves a slurry of inorganic ash in a pure water phase free from organic contaminants, which opens possibilities for a simple process to recover components like phosphates and/or coagulants from the sewage sludge, a process marketed as the Aqua Reci. In a continuous pilot plant for the SCWO process digested sludge has been treated. The ash has been extracted in lab- and pilot scale with both caustic and acids in order to recover phosphates and coagulants. The particle size of the inorganic contaminants in the water after the SCWO process is between 1-10 μm, which means that it is very reactive. The phosphate, and partly the aluminium, can be extracted with caustic as iron and heavy metals are completely insoluble in caustic. This is a method to separate the phosphates from the rest of the contaminants. However, high calcium content will bind the phosphate as calcium phosphate insoluble in caustic. In most cases the calcium content is too high and the best solution is to dissolve phosphates and all metals with sulphuric acid. From this solution first iron phosphate can be separated and thereafter in a second step aluminium and finally heavy metals in a third step. Iron can be separated from the phosphate, either by leaching the phosphate with caustic off to sodium phosphate leaving a precipitate consisting of iron hydroxide, or the iron phosphate can be dissolved in hydrochloric acid followed by a liquid extraction process where ferric chloride can be separated leaving a phosphoric acid. By the acid dissolving process it is possible to recover phosphate, iron, aluminium, and heavy metals from the inorganic since the Aqua Reci process only leaves a silica residue representing about 10% of the DS content in the original sludge.

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