Nitrogen loss during solar drying of biosolids

S. A. O'Shaughnessy, I. Song, J. F. Artiola, C. Y. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Solar drying has been used extensively to dewater biosolids for ease of transportation and to a lesser degree to reduce pathogens prior to land application. The nitrogen in biosolids makes them a relatively inexpensive but valuable source of fertilizer. In this study, nitrogen loss from tilled and untilled biosolids was investigated during the solar drying process. Samples of aerobically and anaerobically digested biosolids during three solar drying experiments were analyzed for their nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) ions concentrations. Nitrogen losses varied depending on the solar drying season and tillage. Although not directly measured, the majority of nitrogen loss occurred through ammonia volatilization; organic nitrogen content (organic N) remained relatively stable for each sample, nitrate concentrations for the majority of samples remained below detectable levels and the decline of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4+-N) generally followed the trend of moisture loss in the biosolids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Ammonia volatilization
  • Drying beds
  • Mineralization
  • Nitrogen fertilizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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