From the Guardian. Incidentally, I'm told that the biological nutrient removal recommended by the CEC for Winnipeg's wastewater is good for the recovery of phosphate as well as nitrogen. As we know, the city isn't keen to spend that kind of money, though, and they've been fighting the provincial government tooth and nail on the issue.
Peak oil presents the world with an energy crisis once supplies start to dwindle any time from 2015. But another growing crisis is looming, with potentially devastating consequences for the world's food supply.
Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for plant growth, along with nitrogen and potassium. It is a key component in DNA and plays an essential role in plant energy metabolism. Without it, crops would fail, causing the human food chain to collapse.
Phosphate production is predicted to peak around 2030 as the global population expands to a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050. And unlike oil, where there are renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels, there is no substitute for phosphorus, according to the US Geological Survey.
As imported rock phosphate becomes more expensive and may one day run out, there could be a solution much closer to home, says Professor Brian Chambers, a leading UK soil scientist.
Professor Chambers is calling on the government to respond to the threat of peak phosphate by recovering nutrients from household compost, livestock and human manure and municipal waste.
Western Europe imports all of its phosphate for agricultural use, but Professor Chambers from environmental consultancy ADAS, believes that more than 50 per cent of the UK's total requirement could come from organic sources, saving the agricultural industry between £20m and £30m a year.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Think peak oil is scary?
It's nothing compared to peak phosphate: