Simple and Low-Cost Electroactive Membranes for Ammonia Recovery

Xinyi Wang, Sungju Im, Bongyeon Jung, Jishan Wu, Arpita Iddya, Quezada Renteria A. Javier, Minhao Xiao, Shengcun Ma, Sidan Lu, Byun Jaewon, Jeffrey Zhang, Zhiyong Jason Ren, Christos T. Maravelias, Eric M.V. Hoek, David Jassby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ammonia is considered a contaminant to be removed from wastewater. However, ammonia is a valuable commodity chemical used as the primary feedstock for fertilizer manufacturing. Here we describe a simple and low-cost ammonia gas stripping membrane capable of recovering ammonia from wastewater. The material is composed of an electrically conducting porous carbon cloth coupled to a porous hydrophobic polypropylene support, that together form an electrically conductive membrane (ECM). When a cathodic potential is applied to the ECM surface, hydroxide ions are produced at the water-ECM interface, which transforms ammonium ions into higher-volatility ammonia that is stripped across the hydrophobic membrane material using an acid-stripping solution. The simple structure, low cost, and easy fabrication process make the ECM an attractive material for ammonia recovery from dilute aqueous streams, such as wastewater. When paired with an anode and immersed into a reactor containing synthetic wastewater (with an acid-stripping solution providing the driving force for ammonia transport), the ECM achieved an ammonia flux of 141.3 ± 14.0 at a current density of 6.25 (69.2 ± 5.3 kg(NH3-N)/kWh). It was found that the ammonia flux was sensitive to the current density and acid circulation rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9405-9415
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 27 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • ammonia
  • electrically conducting membrane
  • membrane contactor
  • wastewater


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