Gaseous ammonia uptake in compost biofilters as related to compost water content

Tjalfe G. Poulsen*, Ann H.B. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sewage sludge and yard waste compost were used as biofilter materials and tested with respect to their capacity for removing ammonia from air at different water contents. Ammonia removal was measured in biofilters containing compost wetted to different moisture contents ranging from air dry to field capacity (maximum water holding capacity). Filters were operated for 15 days and subsequently analyzed for NH3/NH4+, NO 2-, and NO3-. The measured nitrogen species concentration profiles inside the filters were used to calculate ammonia removal rates. The results showed that ammonia removal is strongly dependent on the water content in the filter material. At gravimetric water contents below 0.25 g H2O g solids-1 for the yard waste compost and 0.5 g H2O g solids-1 ammonia removal rates were very low but increased rapidly above these values. The sewage sludge compost filters yielded more than twice the ammonia removal rate observed for yard waste compost likely because of a high initial concentration of nitrifying bacteria originating from the wastewater treatment process and a high air-water interphase surface area that facilitates effective ammonia dissolution and transport to the biofilm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-946
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Gaseous ammonia uptake in compost biofilters as related to compost water content'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this