|May 22, 2009 |
Stevens Professors Address Global Need for Phosphorus Production
Professor David A. Vaccari, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, has published a white paper in June 2009 Scientific America. The article reviews the depletion of U.S. and global phosphorus resources necessary to fertilize world-wide crops for sustaining global food supplies.
The U.S. was the source of a quarter of the world’s phosphorus supply over the last century, but the most productive deposits here will run out within a few decades. Other phosphorus resources around the world are concentrated in only a few countries such as Morocco, which controls 38% of the total supply.
Global phosphorus resources, however, are expected to become depleted in less than a century, just after the world’s population and demand for food reaches a peak. The article describes how we will need to intensify the recycling of waste phosphorus in order to sustain global food supply.
On a related note, Stevens’ Professor Mahmoud Wazne has been funded by the Questor Consortium of Ireland to investigate technology for the removal and recovery of phosphorus from wastewater. Removal is achieved by the process of absorption using low-cost absorbents derived from waste biomass. The technology has the potential to solve two problems simultaneously by
- recovering phosphorus resources that would otherwise be wasted
- by making beneficial use of agricultural wastes.
PHOSPHORUS: A LOOMING CRISIS , by David A. Vaccari, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE Scientific American, v300, n6, pp 54 - 59, June, 2009
For more information please contact:
Dr. David A. Vaccari
Professor and Department Director