The exhaust gas from compost processing plants contains a large amount of ammonia. To treat ammonia gas at high loads, bench-scale experiments were carried out. First, nitrifying bacteria were enriched from soil and immobilized on porous ceramics. The ceramics were packed in an acrylic cylinder (diameter, 100 mm; packed height, 190 mm) and ammonia gas was introduced to the top of the cylinder. The concentration and flow rate of ammonia gas were gradually increased and finally 85 ppm was introduced at a space velocity of 800 h-1 (empty bed residence time (EBRT), 4.5 sec). The ammonia load was 1.0 kg N/m3 day-1. The exhaust contained 1.5-2 ppm of ammonia. Then the packed ceramics were transferred to another acrylic cylinder (diameter, 50 mm; packed height, 800 mm). A high concentration of ammonia gas (1,000 ppm) was introduced at a space velocity of 96 h-1 (ammonia loading, 1.44 kg N/m3 day-1; EBRT, 37.5 sec). The exhaust contained 2 ppm of ammonia (removal rate, 99.8%). The packed bed was washed with water intermittently or continuously, and the wastewater from the cylinder contained a large amount of ammonium and nitrate ions of at a 1:1 ratio. Stoichiometric analysis showed that half of the introduced ammonia was oxidized to nitrate, and the rest was converted to ammonium ion. Thus, ammonia gas was effectively treated at a high load by biofiltration with nitrifying bacteria.

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