Thermal drying was used to reduce sludge moisture content before co-combustion in cement kilns. The characteristics of ammonia (NH3) emission during thermal drying of lime sludge (LS) were investigated in a laboratory-scale tubular dry furnace under different temperature and time conditions. As the temperature increased, the NH3 concentration increased in the temperature range 100-130°C, decreased in the temperature range 130-220°C and increased rapidly at >220°C. Emission of NH3 also increased as the lime dosage increased and stabilized at lime dosages >5%. In the first 60 min of drying experiments, 55% of the NH3 was released. NH3 accounted for about 67-72% of the change in total nitrogen caused by the release of nitrogen-containing volatile compounds (VCs) from the sludge. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy revealed that the main forms of nitrogen in sludge were amides and amines. The addition of lime (CaO) could cause conversion of N-H, N-O or C-N containing compounds to NH3 during the drying process.
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