(32e) Feasibility of Electrolyzing Ammonia Effluents for the Production of Hydrogen

Authors: 
Cellar, E. J., Ohio University
Botte, G. G., Ohio University
Bonnin, E. P., Ohio University


The overall objective of the project is to study the technical feasibility of electrolyzing ammonia found in municipal waste waters influents and, industrial and agricultural effluents for the removal of ammonia and the production of hydrogen to be used in fuel cells. The electrolysis of ammonia for the production of hydrogen requires less energy than the electrolysis for water for the production of hydrogen. Theoretically, the hydrogen produced from the ammonia would be able to provide enough energy to power the electrolysis system. This system not only removes ammonia from the waste streams, but also creates a non-fossil-fuel based source of hydrogen.

The specific objectives of the project are to study the electrode substrate and catalyst behavior in low ammonia concentration streams, and to find the minimum ammonia operating concentration for the system studied. The concentration range of ammonia studied is 0.5 mM to 50 mM. A previous study in the Electrochemical Engineering Research Laboratory at Ohio University used high concentrations (1M) of ammonia in alkaline media at low temperatures (25-60°C) to electrolyze ammonia.1

Carbon fiber electrodes plated with noble metals have been tested in the low concentrations of ammonia with potassium hydroxide to determine the optimum electrode design for the conditions. Raney nickel electrodes plated with noble metals were also tested for preliminary results.

The results of the specific objectives and limitations of the system will be reported.

1 G. G. Botte, F. Vitse, and M. Cooper, Electro-catalyst for Oxidation of Ammonia in Alkaline Media and Its Application to Hydrogen production, Ammonia Fuel Cells, Ammonia Electrochemical Sensors, and Purification Process for Ammonia-contained Effluents. October 10, 2003. [Provisional Patent].

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