Gas quantity and composition from the hydrolysis of salt cake from secondary aluminum processing

  • X.-L. Huang
  • T. TolaymatEmail author
Original Paper


A systematic approach to understanding the hydrolysis of salt cake from secondary aluminum production in municipal solid waste landfill environment was conducted. Thirty-nine (39) samples from 10 Aluminum recycling facilities throughout the USA were collected. A laboratory procedure to assess the gas productivity of SC from SAP under anaerobic conditions at 50 °C to simulate a landfill environment was developed. Gas quantity and composition data indicate that on average 1400 µmol g−1 (35 mL g−1) of gas resulted from the hydrolysis of SC. Hydrogen was the dominant gas generated (79% by volume) followed by methane with an average of 190 µmol g−1 (21% by volume). N2O was detected at a much lower concentration (1.2 ppmv). The total ammonia released was 680 µmol g−1, and because of the closed system nature of the experimental setup, the vast majority of ammonia was present in the liquid phase (570 mg L−1). In general, the productivity of both hydrogen and total ammonia (the sum of gas and liquid forms ammonia) was a fraction of that expected by stoichiometry indicating an incomplete hydrolysis and a potential for re-hydrolysis when conditions are more favorable. The result provides substantial evidence that SC can be hydrolyzed to generate a gas with relative long-lasting implications for municipal solid waste landfill operations.


Aluminum recycling Gas productivity Hydrogen Landfill Reactivity assessment Salt cake 



This research was collaboratively supported by the USEPA’s Office of Research and Development National Risk Management Research Laboratory, the Environmental Research and Education Foundation and the Aluminum Association under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. This manuscript has been subjected to the Agency’s review process and approved for publication. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not, necessarily, reflect the official positions and policies of the USEPA. Any mention of products or trade names does not constitute a recommendation for use by the USEPA.

Supplementary material

13762_2018_1820_MOESM1_ESM.doc (656 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 655 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pegasus Technical Services, IncCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Office of Research and DevelopmentU.S. EPACincinnatiUSA

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