Green ammonia recovery from manure digester and lagoon by electrodialysis

PI: Phillip Barak


Barak is a professor of soil science at UW–Madison. His current research activities relate to nutrient recovery from wastewater, including phosphorus removal from wastewater treatment plants in the form of brushite, a largely neglected phosphorus fertilizer.
Postdoc: Donald Lee Vineyard (pictured above) completed his masters and PhD programs at UW–Madison having prior attended Duke University. Through his education, Vineyard developed an interest in environmental chemistry and engineering. Vineyard will be mentored by Phillip Barak from the Department of Soil Science.

Human expansion and intervention in the nitrogen cycle has led to a “lossy” system, particularly in manure handling. The ammonium ion is moveable using electrical fields similar to electrodialysis. This technology uses an array of selective membranes and flow paths under an electric field. This project is testing a two-chamber, monovalent-selective cation exchange membrane in tandem with a water splitting bipolar membrane as a way of producing ammonia from feed streams containing ammonium such as manure digesters, manure lagoons, and similar wastewater sources that may have recoverable ammonium or other cations of interest. Potential benefits of this technology include development of sustainable and locally produced ammonia for agriculture, an additional marketable product from farm and treatment plants, truly “green” ammonium if the electrodialysis energy is sourced from biogas, photovoltaic or wind as opposed to the “gray” ammonia from Haber-Bosch fixation, and reduction of on farm emissions of ammonia.These innovations have potential to contribute to the priorities of sustainable ag systems, production, energy, and sustainability of natural resources.

Krishnapuram (K.G.) Karthikeyan