The performance of three biofilters (BF1-BF3) packed with a new hybrid (inert/organic) packing material that consists of spherical argyle pellets covered with compost was examined in different operational scenarios and compared with a biofilter packed with pine bark (BF4). BF1, BF2 and BF4 were inoculated with an enriched microbial population, while BF3 was inoculated with sludge from a wastewater treatment plant. A gas mixture containing ammonia and six VOCs was fed to the reactors with N-NH3 loads ranging from 0 to 10gN/m3h and a VOCs load of around 10gC/m3h. A profound analysis of the fate of nitrogen was performed in all four reactors. Results show that the biofilters packed with the hybrid packing material and inoculated with the microbial pre-adapted population (BF1 and BF2) achieved the highest nitrification rates and VOCs removal efficiencies. In BF3, nitratation was inhibited during most of the study, while only slight evidence of nitrification could be observed in BF4. All four reactors were able to treat the VOCs mixture with efficiencies greater than 80% during the entire experimental period, regardless of the inlet ammonia load. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
- Ammonia-VOC removal
- Hybrid packing material