Mathematical model of a parallel plate ammonia electrolyzer for combined wastewater remediation and hydrogen production

Ali Estejab, Damilola A. Daramola, Gerardine G. Botte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A mathematical model was developed for the simulation of a parallel plate ammonia electrolyzer to convert ammonia in wastewater to nitrogen and hydrogen under basic conditions. The model consists of fundamental transport equations, the ammonia oxidation kinetics at the anode, and the hydrogen evolution kinetics at the cathode of the electrochemical reactor. The model shows both qualitative and quantitative agreement with experimental measurements at ammonia concentrations found within wastewater (200-1200mgL-1). The optimum electrolyzer performance is dependent on both the applied voltage and the inlet concentrations. Maximum conversion of ammonia to nitrogen at the rates of 0.569 and 0.766mgL-1min-1 are achieved at low (0.01MNH4Cl and 0.1M KOH) and high (0.07M NH4Cl and 0.15M KOH) inlet concentrations, respectively. At high and low concentrations, an initial increase in the cell voltage will cause an increase in the system response - current density generated and ammonia converted. These system responses will approach a peak value before they start to decrease due to surface blockage and/or depletion of solvated species at the electrode surface. Furthermore, the model predicts that by increasing the reactant and electrolyte concentrations at a certain voltage, the peak current density will plateau, showing an asymptotic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Jun 5 2015


  • Ammonia electrolysis
  • Hydrogen production
  • Waste-energy recovery
  • Wastewater remediation
  • Water deammonification
  • Water-energy nexus


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