This paper reports the results of laboratory studies on the removal of ammonium from aqueous solutions using struvite pyrogenation residues. A series of experiments were conducted to examine the effects of the pyrogenation temperature (90–210 °C) and time (0.5–4 h) on the ammonium release of struvite. In addition, the pyrolysate of struvite produced at different pyrogenation temperatures and times was recycled for ammonium removal from aqueous solutions. The experimental results indicated that the ammonium release ratio of struvite increased with an increase in the pyrogenation temperature and time, and the struvite pyrolysate used as magnesium and phosphate source for ammonium removal was produced at the optimal condition of pyrogenation temperature of 150 °C for 1 h. Furthermore, experimental results showed that the optimum pH and pyrolysate dosage for ammonium removal from 100 ml synthetic wastewater (1,350 mg ammonium/L) were at pH 9 and 2.4 g of struvite pyrolysate, respectively, and initial ammonium concentration played a significant role in the ammonium removal by the struvite pyrolysate. In order to further reduce the cost of struvite precipitation, the struvite pyrolysate was repeatedly used for four cycles. The results of economic analysis showed that recycling struvite for three process cycles should be reasonable for ammonium removal, with ammonium removal efficiencies of over 50% and a reduction of 40% in the removal cost per kg NH4+.
Keywords: ammonium removal, magnesium and phosphate, residues, struvite, temperature