Future phosphorus: advancing new 2D phosphorus allotropes and growing a sustainable bioeconomy

Jarvie, Helen P.; Flaten, Don; Sharpley, Andrew N.; Kleinman, Peter J.A.; Healy, Mark G.; King, Stephen M.. 2019 Future phosphorus: advancing new 2D phosphorus allotropes and growing a sustainable bioeconomy. Journal of Environmental Quality, 48 (5). 1145-1155.

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With more than 40 countries currently proposing to boost their national bioeconomies, there is no better time for a clarion call for a “new” bioeconomy, which, at its core, tackles the current disparities and inequalities in phosphorus (P) availability. Existing biofuel production systems have widened P inequalities and contributed to a linear P economy, impairing water quality and accelerating dependence on P fertilizers manufactured from finite nonrenewable phosphate rock reserves. Here, we explore how the emerging bioeconomy in novel, value-added, bio-based products offers opportunities to rethink our stewardship of P. Development of integrated value chains of new bio-based products offers opportunities for codevelopment of “P refineries” to recover P fertilizer products from organic wastes. Advances in material sciences are exploiting unique semiconductor and opto-electrical properties of new “two-dimensional” (2D) P allotropes (2D black phosphorus and blue phosphorus). These novel P materials offer the tantalizing prospect of step-change innovations in renewable energy production and storage, in biomedical applications, and in biomimetic processes, including artificial photosynthesis. They also offer a possible antidote to the P paradox that our agricultural production systems have engineered us into, as well as the potential to expand the future role of P in securing sustainability across both agroecological and technological domains of the bioeconomy. However, a myriad of social, technological, and commercialization hurdles remains to be crossed before such an advanced circular P bioeconomy can be realized. The emerging bioeconomy is just one piece of a much larger puzzle of how to achieve more sustainable and circular horizons in our future use of P.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0047-2425
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 20 Aug 2019 10:32 +0 (UTC)

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