Ammonium recovery from reject water combined with hydrogen production in a bioelectrochemical reactor
Journal article, 2013

In this study, a bioelectrochemical reactor was investigated for simultaneous hydrogen production and ammonium recovery from reject water, which is an ammonium-rich side-stream produced from sludge treatment processes at wastewater treatment plants. In the anode chamber of the reactor, microorganisms converted organic material into electrical current. The electrical current was used to generate hydrogen gas at the cathode with 96±6% efficiency. Real or synthetic reject water was fed to the cathode chamber where proton reduction into hydrogen gas resulted in a pH increase which led to ammonium being converted into volatile ammonia. The ammonia could be stripped from the solution and recovered in acid. Overall, ammonium recovery efficiencies reached 94% with synthetic reject water and 79% with real reject water. This process could potentially be used to make wastewater treatment plants more resource-efficient and further research is warranted.

Microbial electrolysis cell

nitrogen recovery

sludge liquor

anaerobic digester centrate


Xue Wu

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Oskar Modin

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Bioresource Technology

0960-8524 (ISSN) 1873-2976 (eISSN)

Vol. 146 530-536

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Water Engineering

Water Treatment

Environmental Biotechnology

Other Environmental Biotechnology



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