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All About Ammonia

5 Facts About This Stinky Compound

The Ammonia Molecule NH3

1. What is ammonia?

Ammonia is a colorless gas made of nitrogen and hydrogen with a strong and distinguishable odor (think cleaning products).

2. How does it occur naturally?

Ammonia occurs naturally in air, soil and water and is also a byproduct of the normal biological processes of humans and animals.

3. What industrial processes emit ammonia?

Various processes emit ammonia including fertilizer manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, livestock management, fossil fuel combustion and refrigeration facilities.

4. How is it harmful?

Ammonia is poisonous if inhaled in great quantities and irritates the eyes, nose and throat in lesser amounts. It is also explosive when mixed with air in certain proportions (~one volume of ammonia to two volumes of air).

5. How are industrial ammonia emissions controlled?

Wet Scrubber Systems, specifically chemical scrubbers like this one, have been demonstrated to effectively remove ammonia in exhaust streams by using sulfuric acid (H2SO4) to neutralize ammonia. Unlike particulate scrubbers, chemical scrubbers remove pollutants via a chemical reaction and not by injecting liquid into the gas stream.

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