Recovery of phosphorus (P) from flushed dairy manure in an easily-dewatered form would enable farmers to manage P as a resource rather than land-apply it in excess at environmental risk. The purpose of this study was to evaluate (i) the feasibility of P recovery and (ii) the form of recovered P from flushed dairy manure wastewater using crystallization in a fluidized-bed reactor. Wastewater was pumped directly from a dairy farm reservoir and continuously fed in parallel through four bench-scale fluidized-bed reactors deployed on-site. Chemical additives (NaOH and MgSO4) required for recovery were injected directly into the zone of fluidization. Recovered P forms were assessed by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and micro-elemental analysis. Recovery of P as poorly-crystalline hydroxylapatite (HAP) was documented in coatings ultrasonically removed from quartz seed grains following fluidization at elevated pH in conjunction with MgSO4 injection. Addition of MgSO4 was required to prevent CaCO3 precipitation upon pH elevation and hence enable calcium phosphate precipitation. It is likely that MgSO4 inhibited CaCO3 via formation of MgCO3 (aq). Periclase (MgO), which also served as an effective seed material, generated sufficient alkalinity at grain surfaces to precipitate abundant CaCO3 and in some cases detectable Ca phosphate even without NaOH addition to elevate pH of bulk solution.
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