Future phosphorus: advancing new '2D' allotropes and growing a sustainable bio economy
Jarvie, Helen P.
Sharpley, Andrew N.
Kleinman, Peter J. A.
Healy, Mark G.
King, Stephen M.
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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. doi: 10.2134/jeq2019.03.0135
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 non-renewable 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 offer opportunities for co-development 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 P allotropes (2D Black Phosphorus and Blue Phosphorus). These novel P materials offer the tantalising prospect of step-change innovations in renewable energy production and storage, in biomedical applications, and in biomimetic processes, including artificial photosynthesis. They also potentially offer an antidote to the P paradox that our agricultural production systems have engineered us into, and expand the future role of P in securing sustainability across both agroecological and technological domains of the bioeconomy. However, there remains a myriad of social, technological and commercialization hurdles to be crossed before such an advanced circular P bioeconomy could 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 phosphorus.
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