Landfill Management Technical Division

Thermal Ammonia Removal and Recovery from Leachate

By Robert Eden posted 08-26-2020 01:58 AM


Thermally-driven ammonia stripping was developed by Organics to offer an alternative route to that of pH adjustment for continuous-process ammonia stripping. With a thermally-driven stripper no chemical additions are required. I've started this blog post to gauge the interest within SWANA.  If it is of interest, we'll put together a multi-part series of posts covering ammonia removal, recovery and re-use options.

The single important input for the thermal ammonia removal system is waste-heat with which to drive the chemical reactions. If waste-heat is not available, the fuel-cost can be as prohibitive as that of chemical additions or carbon source requirements. Where waste-heat is available, from an engine-exhaust or unwanted biogas, the long-term operating cost can be confined to plant Operation and Maintenance, as well as electricity costs.  Even natural gas could be considered an affordable fuel option in today's market.

The preferred option within the Organics process is to use the ammonia-laden air as combustion air in the heat-raising process. By this means, ammonia gas is destroyed as a part of the process of thermally powering the system.  The system is built for leachate and anaerobic digesters with high strength ammonia levels in excess of 1000 mg/l, and has proven to treat levels upwards of 6700 mg/l.  The lowest discharge level that can be achieved is 100 mg/l.  If lower limits are needed other biological options can be added to the process to achieve discharge consent.

Methods of recovering the ammonia use a water scrubber or acid scrubber recovered as aqueous ammonia or as a salt.

To learn more about the process visit our company website:


or see our recent webinar presentation at the link below: