Why Phosphates?

Most phosphate are made with phosphoric acid.

Phosphoric acid is the key intermediate building block for phosphate products

Phosphorus makes up 1% of all living organisms.

Phosphorus and phosphates play an essential role in all life, including cell walls, DNA, energy transfers and skeletal structures. In short, without phosphorus, there can be no life on Earth.

We obtain almost all our phosphate for use in fertilizer, animal feed and industry from mined phosphate rock, a limited natural resource. Maximizing our efficiency of using phosphate rock is thus critical to the long-term sustainability of human life.

More immediately, global population continues to grow, and people continue to eat better. This puts more pressure on crop production, with food demand expected to increase by about 50% by 2050. Producing this food will require more phosphates and put more demands on the phosphate supply chain.


Figure 1. Life requires phosphates.

"Phosphoric acid is the key intermediate building block for phosphate products"

Phosphate rock must be processed further into phosphoric acid to be useful in fertilizers, animal feeds and industrial products. The key intermediate product is phosphoric acid, which can then be upgraded and combined with other ingredients to make final products. It is this part of the market that the Novaphos technology addresses.


Figure 2. A phosphate mine

Figure 2. A phosphate mine


Figure 3. A wet-acid plant


Figure 4. A gypsum stack

Figure 4. A gypsum stack

The incumbent process for making phosphoric acid, the wet-acid process or WAP, has been practiced in its current form for many decades. It requires high-quality phosphate rock as a raw material, and this mining activity generates a lot of waste mine tailings that still contain useful phosphate. It also produces about five tons of hazardous phosphogypsum for each ton of phosphoric acid. Moreover, wet-acid process phosphoric acid must be concentrated and purified further for other uses, even to make basic solid fertilizers. Wet-acid phosphate operations are very large, complex and expensive. 

Novaphos Phosphoric Acid Technology allows phosphate producers to use low-quality phosphate raw materials, even mine tailings and unprocessed ore, as raw materials. It produces a high-quality phosphoric acid directly from the process. And it does not produce phosphogypsum. The Novaphos process implies a more compact, simple plant operating at higher margins and with a higher return on capital.


Figure 5. Wet-acid process vs. novaphos


Figure 6. Economic comparison of novaphos process vs. wet-acid process

Sustainable Phosphate Production Technology

The phosphate industry plays a vital role in the production of food and other products. It is critical for this industry to become more sustainable than possible with the wet-acid process; we need to use limited raw materials more wisely and avoid production of large volumes of waste. With Novaphos technology, the phosphate industry can make this happen.

There are billions of tons of waste phosphogypsum stockpiled around the world.
There are billions of tons of waste phosphogypsum stockpiled around the world.

Novaphos has developed a technology to reprocess existing phosphogypsum into safe and useful products, including sulfuric acid made from the recovered sulfur content. This means that newly produced phosphogypsum can be reused rather than dumped. And traditional phosphoric acid producers can become more circular. The regeneration of sulfur otherwise lost in phosphogypsum is only going to grow in importance as less sulfur is produced from processing hydrocarbons like oil and gas, leading to a future global sulfur and sulfuric acid shortage.

© 2024 novaphos corporation


© 2022 novaphos corporation