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Managing phosphorus in the UK water industry to increase national resource security

Cooper, James (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Phosphorus is an essential, irreplaceable component of the food production system. Most of the phosphorus applied in agriculture comes from phosphate rock, a finite, non-renewable resource. Therefore, there are growing concerns about global phosphorus scarcity and the sustainability of modern agriculture.

The aim of this research was to determine if the UK water industry will be required to increase the amount of phosphorus that is recycled from wastewater.

This research involved conducting an extensive literature review and gathering data from secondary sources, which was then analysed to address the guiding research questions.

This analysis suggests that phosphorus recycling could be increased, but changes to existing legislation and infrastructure will be required. The substance flow analysis revealed that the water industry is a key stakeholder in UK phosphorus management, and the intensifying geopolitical risk to security of supply suggests that increased phosphorus recycling will be required in the near future. Finally, a Phosphorus Recycling Obligation scheme was developed as a means of optimising investments and achieving recycling targets.

It is concluded that the UK water industry will be required to increase the amount of phosphorus that is recycled from wastewater in the near future in order to address national resource security.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Carliell-Marquet, Cynthia
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Civil Engineering
Additional Information:

Publications resulting from research:
Cooper, James, et al. "The future distribution and production of global phosphate rock reserves." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 57 (2011): 78-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.09.009.

Cooper, James, and Cynthia Carliell-Marquet. "A substance flow analysis of phosphorus in the UK food production and consumption system." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 74 (2013): 82-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.03.001

Subjects:GE Environmental Sciences
TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5764
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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