Pilot-scale field study for ammonia removal from lagoon biogas using an acid wet scrubber

Hongjian Lin, Xiao Wu, Curtis Miller, Jun Zhu, Lara jane Hadlocon, Roderick Manuzon, Lingying Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The anaerobic activities in swine slurry storage and treatment generate biogas containing gaseous ammonia component which is a chemical agent that can cause adverse environmental impacts when released to the atmosphere. The aim of this pilot plant study was to remove ammonia from biogas generated in a covered lagoon, using a sulfuric acid wet scrubber. The data showed that, on average, the biogas contained 43.7 ppm of ammonia and its concentration was found to be exponentially related to the air temperature inside the lagoon. When the air temperature rose to 35°C and the biogas ammonia concentration reached 90 ppm, the mass transfer of ammonia/ammonium from the deeper liquid body to the interface between the air and liquid became a limiting factor. The biogas velocity was critical in affecting ammonia removal efficiency of the wet scrubber. A biogas flow velocity of 8 to 12 mm s-1 was recommended to achieve a removal efficiency of greater than 60%. Stepwise regression revealed that the biogas velocity and air temperature, not the inlet ammonia concentration in biogas, affected the ammonia removal efficiency. Overall, when 73 g L-1 (or 0.75 M) sulfuric acid solution was used as the scrubber solution, removal efficiencies varied from 0% to 100% with an average of 55% over a 40-d measurement period. Mass balance calculation based on ammonium-nitrogen concentration in final scrubber liquid showed that about 21.3 g of ammonia was collected from a total volume of 1169 m3 of biogas, while the scrubber solution should still maintain its ammonia absorbing ability until its concentration reaches up to 1 M. These results showed promising use of sulfuric acid wet scrubber for ammonia removal in the digester biogas. © 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Adsorption
  • ammonia removal
  • anaerobic digestion
  • biogas cleaning
  • wet scrubber


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