Continuous Ammonia Recovery from Wastewaters Using an Integrated Capacitive Flow Electrode Membrane Stripping System

  • Changyong Zhang
    Changyong Zhang
    UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
  • Jinxing Ma
    Jinxing Ma
    UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
    More by Jinxing Ma
  • Jingke Song
    Jingke Song
    UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
    College of Environmental Science and Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, P. R. China
    Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, P. R. China
    More by Jingke Song
  • Calvin He
    Calvin He
    UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
    More by Calvin He
  • , and 
  • T. David Waite*
    T. David Waite
    UNSW Water Research Centre, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
    *Phone/fax: +61-2-9385-5060; e-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, 24, 14275–14285
Publication Date (Web):November 21, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society
Article Views
Read OnlinePDF (3 MB)
Supporting Info (1)»


We have previously described a novel flow-electrode capacitive deionization (FCDI) unit combined with a hydrophobic gas-permeable hollow fiber membrane contactor (designated “CapAmm”) and presented results showing efficient recovery of ammonia from dilute synthetic wastewaters (Zhang et al., Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett.2018, 5, 43–49). We extend this earlier study here with description of an FCDI system with integrated flat sheet gas permeable membrane with comprehensive assessment of ammonia recovery performance from both dilute and concentrated wastewaters. The integrated CapAmm cell exhibited excellent ammonia removal and recovery efficiencies (up to ∼90% and ∼80% respectively). The energy consumptions for ammonia recovery from low-strength (i.e., domestic) and high-strength (i.e., synthetic urine) wastewaters were 20.4 kWh kg–1 N and 7.8 kWh kg–1 N, respectively, with these values comparable to those of more conventional alternatives. Stable ammonia recovery and salt removal performance was achieved over more than two days of continuous operation with ammonia concentrated by ∼80 times that of the feed stream. These results demonstrate that the integrated CapAmm system described here could be a cost-effective technology capable of treating wastewaters and realizing both nutrient recovery and water reclamation in a sustainable manner.

Supporting Information

Jump To

The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02743.

  • Details on the analytical methods and calculations, and further experimental data such as temporal variation of effluent conductivity using different carbon content, temporal variation of cathode pH in different operation scenario, variation of NH3–N (and NH4+) concentration in cathode chamber and acid chamber, distribution of ammonia, treatment of real domestic wastewater, urine, and long-term operation results of CapAmm (Figures S1–S12 and Table S1) (PDF)

Terms & Conditions

Most electronic Supporting Information files are available without a subscription to ACS Web Editions. Such files may be downloaded by article for research use (if there is a public use license linked to the relevant article, that license may permit other uses). Permission may be obtained from ACS for other uses through requests via the RightsLink permission system:

Cited By

This article is cited by 61 publications.

  1. Zhanghao Jiang, Zhiliang Cheng, Chaoqun Yan, Xuan Zhang, Yijuan Tian, Xianming Zhang, Xuejun Quan. Simultaneous Removal of Nitrogen and Refractory Organics from a Biologically Treated Leachate by Pulse Electrochemical Oxidation in a Multi-channel Flow Reactor. ACS Omega 2021, 6 (39) , 25539-25550.
  2. Weikun Chen, Stefan Grimberg, Shane Rogers, Taeyoung Kim. Ammonia Recovery from Domestic Wastewater Using a Proton-Mediated Redox Couple. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2021, 9 (37) , 12699-12707.
  3. Jianan Gao, Ning Shi, Xiaobin Guo, Yifan Li, Xuejun Bi, Yuanfeng Qi, Jing Guan, Bo Jiang. Electrochemically Selective Ammonia Extraction from Nitrate by Coupling Electron- and Phase-Transfer Reactions at a Three-Phase Interface. Environmental Science & Technology 2021, 55 (15) , 10684-10694.
  4. Cong Chen, Minyuan Han, Jingmei Yao, Yue Zhi, Yuanyuan Liu, Changyong Zhang, Le Han. Donnan Dialysis-Osmotic Distillation (DD-OD) Hybrid Process for Selective Ammonium Recovery Driven by Waste Alkali. Environmental Science & Technology 2021, 55 (10) , 7015-7024.
  5. Changyong Zhang, Jinxing Ma, Lei Wu, Jingyi Sun, Li Wang, Tianyu Li, T. David Waite. Flow Electrode Capacitive Deionization (FCDI): Recent Developments, Environmental Applications, and Future Perspectives. Environmental Science & Technology 2021, 55 (8) , 4243-4267.
  6. Anna Kogler, McKenna Farmer, Julia A. Simon, Sebastien Tilmans, George F. Wells, William A. Tarpeh. Systematic Evaluation of Emerging Wastewater Nutrient Removal and Recovery Technologies to Inform Practice and Advance Resource Efficiency. ACS ES&T Engineering 2021, 1 (4) , 662-684.
  7. Longqian Xu, Chao Yu, Shiyu Tian, Yunfeng Mao, Yang Zong, Xiaomeng Zhang, Bing Zhang, Changyong Zhang, Deli Wu. Selective Recovery of Phosphorus from Synthetic Urine Using Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization (FCDI)-Based Technology. ACS ES&T Water 2021, 1 (1) , 175-184.
  8. Yanhong Bian, Xi Chen, Zhiyong Jason Ren. pH Dependence of Phosphorus Speciation and Transport in Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization. Environmental Science & Technology 2020, 54 (14) , 9116-9123.
  9. Kexin Tang, Kun Zhou. Water Desalination by Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization in Overlimiting Current Regimes. Environmental Science & Technology 2020, 54 (9) , 5853-5863.
  10. Junjun Ma, Jinxing Ma, Changyong Zhang, Jingke Song, Richard N. Collins, T. David Waite. Water Recovery Rate in Short-Circuited Closed-Cycle Operation of Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization (FCDI). Environmental Science & Technology 2019, 53 (23) , 13859-13867.
  11. Changyong Zhang, Lei Wu, Jinxing Ma, A. Ninh Pham, Min Wang, T. David Waite. Integrated Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization and Microfiltration System for Continuous and Energy-Efficient Brackish Water Desalination. Environmental Science & Technology 2019, 53 (22) , 13364-13373.
  12. Dianxun Hou, David Jassby, Robert Nerenberg, Zhiyong Jason Ren. Hydrophobic Gas Transfer Membranes for Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery. Environmental Science & Technology 2019, 53 (20) , 11618-11635.
  13. Yanhong Bian, Xi Chen, Lu Lu, Peng Liang, Zhiyong Jason Ren. Concurrent Nitrogen and Phosphorus Recovery Using Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2019, 7 (8) , 7844-7850.
  14. Changyong Zhang, Jinxing Ma, T. David Waite. Ammonia-Rich Solution Production from Wastewaters Using Chemical-Free Flow-Electrode Capacitive Deionization. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2019, 7 (7) , 6480-6485.
  15. Fei Yu, Zhengqu Yang, Yujuan Cheng, Siyang Xing, Yayi Wang, Jie Ma. A comprehensive review on flow-electrode capacitive deionization: Design, active material and environmental application. Separation and Purification Technology 2022, 281 , 119870.
  16. Longqian Xu, Chao Yu, Jiaming Zhang, Ren Ding, Yunfeng Mao, Yang Zong, Deli Wu. Selective recovery of formic acid from wastewater using an ion-capture electrochemical system integrated with a liquid-membrane chamber. Chemical Engineering Journal 2021, 425 , 131429.
  17. Yuanyao Ye, Huu Hao Ngo, Wenshan Guo, Soon Woong Chang, Dinh Duc Nguyen, Sunita Varjani, Qiang Liu, Xuan Thanh Bui, Ngoc Bich Hoang. Bio-membrane integrated systems for nitrogen recovery from wastewater in circular bioeconomy. Chemosphere 2021, 6 , 133175.
  18. Taoqin Chen, Longqian Xu, Sheng Wei, Zhiqiang Fan, Ruibo Qian, Xueli Ren, Guo Zhou, Hongquan Yang, Jiayun Wu, Hongbin Chen. Ammonia-rich solution production from coal gasification gray water using Chemical-free Flow-Electrode capacitive deionization coupled with a monovalent cation exchange membrane. Chemical Engineering Journal 2021, 327 , 133780.
  19. Danyang Cao, Xin Feng, Jiahua Zhu, Xiaohua Lu, Liwen Mu. Naturally dispersed ash components in bio-carbon composites: integrated ammonia nitrogen removal and specific surface area augment. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery 2021, 8
  20. Guruprasad V. Talekar, Srikanth Mutnuri. Electrochemical removal and recovery of ammonia and phosphates from blackwater and wetland passed blackwater. Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 2021, 47 , 101374.
  21. Yinglin Liang, Xin Lin, Xiangtong Kong, Qiushi Duan, Pan Wang, Xiaojie Mei, Jinxing Ma. Making Waves: Zero Liquid Discharge for Sustainable Industrial Effluent Management. Water 2021, 13 (20) , 2852.
  22. Liang Luo, Qiang He, Zixin Ma, Duo Yi, Yi Chen, Jinxing Ma. In situ potential measurement in a flow-electrode CDI for energy consumption estimation and system optimization. Water Research 2021, 203 , 117522.
  23. Tse-Lun Chen, Li-Heng Chen, Yupo J. Lin, Chang-Ping Yu, Hwong-wen Ma, Pen-Chi Chiang. Advanced ammonia nitrogen removal and recovery technology using electrokinetic and stripping process towards a sustainable nitrogen cycle: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production 2021, 309 , 127369.
  24. Sumit Dahiya, Aakansha Singh, Brijesh Kumar Mishra. Capacitive deionized hybrid systems for wastewater treatment and desalination: A review on synergistic effects, mechanisms and challenges. Chemical Engineering Journal 2021, 417 , 128129.
  25. Enas Taha Sayed, Muaz Al Radi, Aasim Ahmad, Mohammad Ali Abdelkareem, Hussain Alawadhi, Muataz Ali Atieh, A.G. Olabi. Faradic capacitive deionization (FCDI) for desalination and ion removal from wastewater. Chemosphere 2021, 275 , 130001.
  26. Longqian Xu, Ren Ding, Yunfeng Mao, Shuai Peng, Zheng Li, Yang Zong, Deli Wu. Selective recovery of phosphorus and urea from fresh human urine using a liquid membrane chamber integrated flow-electrode electrochemical system. Water Research 2021, 11 , 117423.
  27. Fan Yang, Yunfei He, Leon Rosentsvit, Matthew E. Suss, Xiaori Zhang, Tie Gao, Peng Liang. Flow-electrode capacitive deionization: A review and new perspectives. Water Research 2021, 200 , 117222.
  28. Zhiqiang Zhang, Zuobin Wang, Jiao Zhang, Ruifeng Deng, Huaxia Peng, Yaqi Guo, Pengyu Xiang, Siqing Xia. Ammonia recovery from wastewater using a bioelectrochemical membrane-absorbed ammonia system with authigenic acid and base. Journal of Cleaner Production 2021, 296 , 126554.
  29. Chungheon Shin, Aleksandra Szczuka, Renjing Jiang, William A. Mitch, Craig S. Criddle. Optimization of reverse osmosis operational conditions to maximize ammonia removal from the effluent of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2021, 7 (4) , 739-747.
  30. Changyong Zhang, Xiang Cheng, Min Wang, Jinxing Ma, Richard Collins, Andrew Kinsela, Ying Zhang, T. David Waite. Phosphate recovery as vivianite using a flow-electrode capacitive desalination (FCDI) and fluidized bed crystallization (FBC) coupled system. Water Research 2021, 194 , 116939.
  31. Yong-Uk Shin, Jihun Lim, Chanhee Boo, Seungkwan Hong. Improving the feasibility and applicability of flow-electrode capacitive deionization (FCDI): Review of process optimization and energy efficiency. Desalination 2021, 502 , 114930.
  32. Fan Lü, Zhijie Wang, Hua Zhang, Liming Shao, Pinjing He. Anaerobic digestion of organic waste: Recovery of value-added and inhibitory compounds from liquid fraction of digestate. Bioresource Technology 2021, 101 , 125196.
  33. Kuo Fang, Fei Peng, Hui Gong, Huanzhen Zhang, Kaijun Wang. Ammonia removal from low-strength municipal wastewater by powdered resin combined with simultaneous recovery as struvite. Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering 2021, 15 (1)
  34. Yuan Liu, Ying-Ying Deng, Qi Zhang, Hong Liu. Overview of recent developments of resource recovery from wastewater via electrochemistry-based technologies. Science of The Total Environment 2021, 757 , 143901.
  35. Kuo Fang, Fei Peng, Erfu San, Kaijun Wang. The impact of concentration in electrolyte on ammonia removal in flow-electrode capacitive deionization system. Separation and Purification Technology 2021, 255 , 117337.
  36. Longqian Xu, Yu Xie, Yang Zong, Yunfeng Mao, Bing Zhang, Huaqiang Chu, Deli Wu. Formic acid recovery from EDTA wastewater using coupled ozonation and flow-electrode capacitive deionization (Ozo/FCDI): Performance assessment at high cell voltage. Separation and Purification Technology 2021, 254 , 117613.
  37. Longqian Xu, Chao Yu, Yunfeng Mao, Yang Zong, Bing Zhang, Huaqiang Chu, Deli Wu. Can flow-electrode capacitive deionization become a new in-situ soil remediation technology for heavy metal removal?. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2021, 402 , 123568.
  38. Haiyang Yan, Liang Wu, Yaoming Wang, Muhammad Irfan, Chenxiao Jiang, Tongwen Xu. Ammonia capture from wastewater with a high ammonia nitrogen concentration by water splitting and hollow fiber extraction. Chemical Engineering Science 2020, 227 , 115934.
  39. Yang Deng, Xu Zhu, Nan Chen, Chuanping Feng, Haishuang Wang, Peijing Kuang, Weiwu Hu. Review on electrochemical system for landfill leachate treatment: Performance, mechanism, application, shortcoming, and improvement scheme. Science of The Total Environment 2020, 745 , 140768.
  40. Kuo Fang, Wenyan He, Fei Peng, Kaijun Wang. Ammonia recovery from concentrated solution by designing novel stacked FCDI cell. Separation and Purification Technology 2020, 250 , 117066.
  41. Sara Arabi, Marie‐Laure Pellegrin, Jorge Aguinaldo, Mary E. Sadler, Robert McCandless, Sara Sadreddini, Joseph Wong, Marie S. Burbano, Srikanth Koduri, Karla Abella, Jeff Moskal, Sirwan Alimoradi, Yaldah Azimi, Andrew Dow, Leila Tootchi, Karla Kinser, Vishakha Kaushik, Valetta Saldanha. Membrane processes. Water Environment Research 2020, 92 (10) , 1447-1498.
  42. Moon Son, Kyung Hwa Cho, Kwanho Jeong, Jongkwan Park. Membrane and Electrochemical Processes for Water Desalination: A Short Perspective and the Role of Nanotechnology. Membranes 2020, 10 (10) , 280.
  43. Mariana Rodrigues, Tom Sleutels, Philipp Kuntke, Douwe Hoekstra, Annemiek ter Heijne, Cees J.N. Buisman, Hubertus V.M. Hamelers. Exploiting Donnan Dialysis to enhance ammonia recovery in an electrochemical system. Chemical Engineering Journal 2020, 395 , 125143.
  44. Cong Chen, Ting Dong, Minyuan Han, Jingmei Yao, Le Han. Ammonium recovery from wastewater by Donnan Dialysis: A feasibility study. Journal of Cleaner Production 2020, 265 , 121838.
  45. Li Wang, Changyong Zhang, Calvin He, T. David Waite, Shihong Lin. Equivalent film-electrode model for flow-electrode capacitive deionization: Experimental validation and performance analysis. Water Research 2020, 181 , 115917.
  46. Xiaobo Min, Mingfei Zhu, Yingjie He, Yunyan Wang, Haoyu Deng, Sheng Wang, Linfeng Jin, Haiying Wang, Liyuan Zhang, Liyuan Chai. Selective removal of Cl− and F− from complex solution via electrochemistry deionization with bismuth/reduced graphene oxide composite electrode. Chemosphere 2020, 251 , 126319.
  47. Moon Son, Eric Kolvek, Taeyoung Kim, Wulin Yang, Johannes S. Vrouwenvelder, Christopher A. Gorski, Bruce E. Logan. Stepwise ammonium enrichment using selective battery electrodes. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2020, 6 (6) , 1649-1657.
  48. Moon Son, Benjamin L. Aronson, Wulin Yang, Christopher A. Gorski, Bruce E. Logan. Recovery of ammonium and phosphate using battery deionization in a background electrolyte. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2020, 6 (6) , 1688-1696.
  49. Sumit Dahiya, Brijesh Kumar Mishra. Enhancing understandability and performance of flow electrode capacitive deionisation by optimizing configurational and operational parameters: A review on recent progress. Separation and Purification Technology 2020, 240 , 116660.
  50. Wenle Xing, Jie Liang, Wangwang Tang, Di He, Ming Yan, Xiangxi Wang, Yuan Luo, Ning Tang, Mei Huang. Versatile applications of capacitive deionization (CDI)-based technologies. Desalination 2020, 482 , 114390.
  51. Aubrey Beckinghausen, Monica Odlare, Eva Thorin, Sebastian Schwede. From removal to recovery: An evaluation of nitrogen recovery techniques from wastewater. Applied Energy 2020, 263 , 114616.
  52. Changyong Zhang, Lei Wu, Jinxing Ma, Min Wang, Jingyi Sun, T. David Waite. Evaluation of long-term performance of a continuously operated flow-electrode CDI system for salt removal from brackish waters. Water Research 2020, 173 , 115580.
  53. Xudong Zhang, Fan Yang, Junjun Ma, Peng Liang. Effective removal and selective capture of copper from salty solution in flow electrode capacitive deionization. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2020, 6 (2) , 341-350.
  54. Xudong Zhang, Kuichang Zuo, Xiaori Zhang, Changyong Zhang, Peng Liang. Selective ion separation by capacitive deionization (CDI) based technologies: a state-of-the-art review. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2020, 6 (2) , 243-257.
  55. Fei Gao, Li Wang, Jie Wang, Hongwei Zhang, Shihong Lin. Nutrient recovery from treated wastewater by a hybrid electrochemical sequence integrating bipolar membrane electrodialysis and membrane capacitive deionization. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2020, 6 (2) , 383-391.
  56. Changyong Zhang, Jinxing Ma, T. David Waite. The impact of absorbents on ammonia recovery in a capacitive membrane stripping system. Chemical Engineering Journal 2020, 382 , 122851.
  57. Sylwin Pawlowski, Rosa M. Huertas, Cláudia F. Galinha, João G. Crespo, Svetlozar Velizarov. On operation of reverse electrodialysis (RED) and membrane capacitive deionisation (MCDI) with natural saline streams: A critical review. Desalination 2020, 476 , 114183.
  58. Jinxing Ma, Junjun Ma, Changyong Zhang, Jingke Song, Wenjia Dong, T. David Waite. Flow-electrode capacitive deionization (FCDI) scale-up using a membrane stack configuration. Water Research 2020, 168 , 115186.
  59. Iranildes D. Santos, Kawan B. Santos, Luiza M.S.S. Oliveira, Patrícia Radino-Rouse, Achilles J.B. Dutra. Influence of some parameters on the nitrate formation during ammonia electrooxidation from an effluent generated by fertilizers’ storage and handling facilities. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 2019, 7 (3) , 103123.
  60. Jingke Song, Jinxing Ma, Changyong Zhang, Calvin He, T. David Waite. Implication of Non-electrostatic Contribution to Deionization in Flow-Electrode CDI: Case Study of Nitrate Removal From Contaminated Source Waters. Frontiers in Chemistry 2019, 7
  61. Changyong Zhang, Di He, Jinxing Ma, Wangwang Tang, T. David Waite. Comparison of faradaic reactions in flow-through and flow-by capacitive deionization (CDI) systems. Electrochimica Acta 2019, 299 , 727-735.