Once-through CO2 absorption for simultaneous biogas upgrading and fertilizer production

Qingyao He, Ge Yu, Wenchao Wang, Shuiping Yan*, Yanlin Zhang, Shuaifei Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    A new process is developed for biogas upgrading using the total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) in biogas slurry as a renewable absorbent. TAN in biogas slurry can be transferred into free ammonia by adding NaOH to increase the solution pH. Increasing the pH of biogas slurry to 10 causes that >90% TAN transfers into free ammonia, leading to high TAN removal ratios. However, further increasing the pH of biogas slurry has limited effects. Vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) has higher kinetics constants and thus is a more effective way to recover and enrich ammonia from biogas slurry compared with thermal or air stripping. After VMD, the recovered aqueous ammonia solution with high TAN concentrations and the enhanced biogas slurry can be used as "once-through" CO2 absorbents. With alkaline addition, VMD does not increase the CO2 absorption capacity, but significantly minimizes the phytotoxicity of biogas slurry. When NaOH dosage is below 0.25 M, superior ammonia separation performance with high kinetics constants and low phytotoxicity can be achieved. The recovered aqueous ammonia solution also has excellent CO2 absorption performance for biogas upgrading and can help obtain high content of methane. This study provides an effective process for biogas upgrading with low costs and generation of valuable products, including high purity bio-methane, low phytotoxicity biogas slurry for agricultural application and high concentration NH4HCO3 as a fertilizer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-58
    Number of pages9
    JournalFuel Processing Technology
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


    • Carbon capture
    • Biogas upgrading
    • Renewable absorbent
    • Vacuum membrane distillation
    • Biogas slurry
    • CO₂ absorption


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