Biofiltration of high loads of ethyl acetate in the presence of toluene.
To date, biofilters have been used primarily to control dilute, usually odorous, off-gases with relatively low volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations (< 1 g m-3) and VOC loads (< 50 g m-3 hr-1). Recently, however, U.S. industry has shown an interest in applying biofilters to higher concentrations of VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). In this study, the behavior of biofilters under high loads of binary VOC mixtures was studied. Two bench-scale biofilters were operated using a commercially available medium and a mixture of wood chips and compost. Both were exposed to varying mixtures of ethyl acetate and toluene. Concentration profiles and the corresponding removal efficiencies as a function of VOC loading were determined through frequent grab-sampling and GC analysis. Biofilter response to two frequently encountered operating problems--media dry-out and operating temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C--was also evaluated under controlled conditions. Microbial populations were also monitored to confirm the presence of organisms capable of degrading both major off-gas constituents. The results demonstrated several characteristics of biofilters operating under high VOC load conditions. Maximum elimination capacities for ethyl acetate were typically in the range of 200 g m-3 hr-1. Despite the presence of toluene degraders, the removal of toluene was inhibited by high loads of ethyl acetate. Several byproducts, particularly ethanol, were formed. Short-term dry-out and temperature excursions resulted in reduced performance.
Deshusses, M; Johnson, CT; Leson, G
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