Chemical state of chromium in sewage sludge ash based phosphorus-fertilisers Academic Article uri icon


  • Sewage sludge ash (SSA) based P-fertilisers were produced by thermochemical treatment of SSA with Cl-donors at approximately 1000°C. During this thermochemical process heavy metals are separated as heavy metal chlorides via the gas phase. Chromium cannot be separated under normal conditions. The risk of the development of toxic Cr(VI) during the thermochemical process was investigated. X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy measurements showed that SSA and thermochemically treated SSA with CaCl2, MgCl2 and NaCl contain Cr(III) compounds only. In contrast, treating SSA with elevated quantities of Na2CO3, to enhance the plant-availability of the phosphate phases of the fertiliser, developed approximately 10-15% Cr(VI). Furthermore, Raman microspectroscopy showed that using Mg-carbonate reduces the risk of a Cr(VI) development during thermochemical treatment. Additionally, leaching tests showed that only a Cr-water solubility>10% is an indicator for Cr(VI) in SSA based P-fertilisers.


  • Vogel, C
  • Adam, C
  • Kappen, P
  • Schiller, T
  • Lipiec, E
  • McNaughton, D

publication date

  • 2014