Removal of ammonium from greywater using natural zeolite

Nurul Widiastuti*, Hongwei Wu, Ha Ming Ang, Dongke Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on the effectiveness of removing ammonium ion and the theoretical aspects of adsorption including adsorption isotherm, kinetics and thermodynamics as well as desorption-regeneration studies. Results have demonstrated that natural zeolite shows good performance with up to 97% for ammonium removal depending on contact time, zeolite loading, initial ammonium concentration and pH. The adsorption kinetics is best approximated by the pseudo-second-order model, whereas the adsorption isotherm results indicated that Freundlich model provides the best fit for the equilibrium data. Furthermore, with regard to thermodynamic parameters, it was found that Gibbs free energy change or adsorption energy (δG°), - 19.52. kJ/mol at 25 °C, - 20.45. kJ/mol at 35 °C and - 22.91. kJ/mol at 45 °C is negative indicating the spontaneous nature of the adsorption process, whereas the enthalpy change (δ H°), 30.96. kJ/mol is positive indicating endothermic adsorption process. The entropy change (δ S°), 0.169. kJ/(mol K) at 25 °C is also positive indicating increasing randomness at the solid-solution interface during adsorption. In addition, the desorption-regeneration studies demonstrated that desorption of ammonium on the zeolite is sufficiently high using NaCl solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Ammonium removal
  • Desorption
  • Kinetics
  • Natural zeolite
  • Thermodynamics


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