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- Publications & Research
- Publication #126
The Austrian P budget as a basis for resource optimization
- The Austrian P budget as a basis for resource optimization
- L Egle
- O Zoboli
- S Thaler
- Helmut Rechberger
- M Zessner
- Journal Article
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
- Phosphorus (P) is a finite and non-substitutable resource that is essential to sustaining high levels of agri-
cultural productivity but is also responsible for environmental problems, e.g., eutrophication. Based on
the methodology of Material Flow Analysis, this study attempts to quantify all relevant flows and stocks
of phosphorus (P) in Austria, with a special focus on waste and wastewater management. The system is
modeled with the software STAN, which considers data uncertainty and applies data reconciliation and
error propagation. The main novelty of this work lies in the high level of detail at which flows and stocks
have been quantified to achieve a deeper understanding of the system and to provide a sound basis for
the evaluation of various management options. The budget confirms on the one hand the dependence of
mineral P fertilizer application (2 kg cap −1 yr −1 ), but it highlights on the other hand considerable unex-
ploited potential for improvement. For example, municipal sewage sludge (0.75 kg cap −1 yr −1 ) and meat
and bone meal (0.65 kg cap −1 yr −1 ) could potentially substitute 70% of the total applied mineral P fertil-
izers. However, recycling rates are low for several P flows (e.g., 27% of municipal sewage sludge; 3% of
meat and bone meal). Therefore, Austria is building up a remarkable P stock (2.1 kg P cap −1 yr −1 ), mainly
due to accumulation in landfills (1.1 kg P cap −1 yr −1 ) and agricultural soils (0.48 kg P cap −1 yr −1 ).
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