University of Oulu

Myllymäki, P., Pesonen, J., Nurmesniemi, E. et al. The Use of Industrial Waste Materials for the Simultaneous Removal of Ammonium Nitrogen and Phosphate from the Anaerobic Digestion Reject Water. Waste Biomass Valor 11, 4013–4024 (2020).

The use of industrial waste materials for the simultaneous removal of ammonium nitrogen and phosphate from the anaerobic digestion reject water

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Author: Myllymäki, Pekka1; Pesonen, Janne1; Nurmesniemi, Emma‑Tuulia1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Unit of Applied Chemistry, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyvaskyla, Talonpojankatu 2B, 67100 Kokkola, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2019-12-05


The European Union’s circular economy strategy aims to increase the recycling and re-use of products and waste materials. According to the strategy, the use of industry waste materials and side flows is required to be more effective. In this research, a chemical precipitation method to simultaneously remove ammonium and phosphate from the reject water of anaerobic digestion plant using calcined paper mill sludge and fly ash as a precipitant, was tested. Paper mill sludge is a waste material formed in the paper-making process, and fly ash is another waste material formed in the power plant. Objective of this research was to test whether these industrial waste streams could be used as low cost precipitation chemicals for ammonium and phosphate removal from wastewaters and whether the precipitate could be suitable for fertilizer use. Results indicated that calcined paper mill sludge had high removal efficiency for both ammonium (97%) and phosphate (73%). Fly ash also had good removal efficiency for both ammonium nitrogen (74%) and phosphate (59%) at 20 ± 2 °C. The precipitates contained high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphate and could be used as a recycled fertilizer. Other possible mechanisms for the removal of phosphate and ammonium were considered.

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Series: Waste and biomass valorization
ISSN: 1877-2641
ISSN-E: 1877-265X
ISSN-L: 1877-2641
Volume: 11
Pages: 4013 - 4024
DOI: 10.1007/s12649-019-00724-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 116 Chemical sciences
215 Chemical engineering
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.