Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Biosystems Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Brune, David E

Committee Member

Privette III , Charles V

Committee Member

Han , Joung J

Committee Member

Eversole , Arnold G


The objective of the research was to develop a complete systems design and predictive model framework of a series of linked processes capable of providing treatment of landfill leachate while simultaneously recovering nutrients and bioenergy from the waste inputs. This proposed process includes an 'Ammonia Recovery Process' (ARP) consisting of: 1) ammonia de-sorption requiring leachate pH adjustment with lime or sodium hydroxide addition followed by, 2) ammonia re-absorption into a 6-molar sulfuric acid spray-tower followed by, 3) biological activated sludge treatment of soluble organic residuals (BOD) followed by, 4) high-rate algal post-treatment and finally, 5) an optional anaerobic digestion process for algal and bacterial biomass, and/or supplemental waste fermentation providing the potential for additional nutrient and energy recovery. In addition, the value provided by the waste treatment function of the overall processes, each of the sub-processes would provide valuable co-products offering potential GHG credit through direct fossil-fuel replacement, or replacement of products requiring fossil fuels. These valuable co-products include, 1) ammonium sulfate fertilizer, 2) bacterial biomass, 3) algal biomass providing, high-protein feeds and oils for biodiesel production and, 4) methane bio-fuels. Laboratory and pilot reactors were constructed and operated, providing data supporting the quantification and modeling of the ARP. Growth parameters, and stoichiometric coefficients were determined, allowing for design of the leachate activated sludge treatment sub-component. Laboratory and pilot algal reactors were constructed and operated, and provided data that supported the determination of leachate organic/inorganic-nitrogen ratio, and loading rates, allowing optimum performance of high-rate algal post-treatment. A modular and expandable computer program was developed, which provided a systems model framework capable of predicting individual component and overall performance. The overall systems model software, ENRAT, predicted that a full-scale operation to treat 18,750 L leachate/day would need an Ammonia Recovery process consisting of 88,300 L of total gas transfer column volume, an activated sludge system of 74,417 L, and an algal post treatment raceway of 683 m² (30 cm depth). The ARP would consume 262.5 L/day of 6N sulfuric acid and produce 16.12 kg-N/day ammonium sulfate. The activated sludge system and algal post treatment would produce 900 g-VS/day (or 44.6 L 2% sludge) and 6.83 kg-VS/day (or 341.6 L 2% sludge) of bacterial and algal biomass. (785 kB)



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