Evaluation of a low-cost magnesium product for phosphorus recovery by struvite crystallization

Dafne Crutchik, Samuel Rodrigues, David Ruddle, Juan Manuel Garrido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The development of a cost-effective process of struvite crystallization requires the selection of appropriate sources of alkali and magnesium. In this study, the effectiveness of two industrial grade products, MgO and Mg(OH)2, as magnesium and alkali sources to recover phosphorus as struvite were investigated and compared in a first set of experiments. Subsequently, the use of industrial Mg(OH)2 was compared in two different struvite crystallization systems, an upflow fluidized bed reactor (FBR) and a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) coupled to a settler tank. Results: At the same operational conditions, the consumption of MgO was higher than Mg(OH)2 consumption. Moreover, industrial Mg(OH)2 consumption for FBR and the CSTR operation was 1.6 and 1.1 1 mol Mg added mol-1 P precipitated, respectively. This difference was caused by the high mixing intensity and the higher contact time between the Mg(OH)2 slurry and the influent in the CSTR, favouring the conversion. Conclusions: Both industrial grade magnesium products are promising options for struvite crystallization. However, Mg(OH)2 was more effective than the starting material, MgO, to recover phosphorus. Struvite crystallization by adding an industrial grade Mg(OH)2 could be economically viable with regard to alternative physico-chemical P removal processes using metal salts, increasing the attractiveness of this P recovery process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1021
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous stirred tank reactor
  • fluidized bed reactor
  • industrial magnesium hydroxide
  • phosphorus recovery
  • struvite


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