A regular supply of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to agriculture is needed for global food security, and increased recycling of nutrients back to agriculture from organic waste streams is necessary for increased rural–urban sustainability.
Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge and agricultural wastes is widely applied to stabilize the substrate and capture some of its energetic value via biogas production. Anaerobic digestate is a concentrated source of nutrients to which nutrient recovery technologies can be applied.
By combining anaerobic digestion and nutrient recovery technologies on the digestate, both energy and nutrient recovery can be achieved. Two promising technologies that could increase nutrient recycling from different types of wastewater are struvite precipitation and ammonia stripping.
This review examines the effectiveness of these ecotechnologies for the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus from anaerobic digestate with the aim of reducing the impact of waste on the environment.
It concludes that, when performed under the right conditions, available evidence suggests that struvite precipitation is an effective technology for the recovery of nutrients from the liquid phase of anaerobic digestate. The evidence base is limited for ammonia stripping. The authors provide suggestions of which data to report in future studies.