Economical assessment of the design, construction and operation of open-bed biofilters for waste gas treatment

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A protocol was developed with the purpose of assessing the main costs implied in the set-up, operation and maintenance of a waste gas-treating conventional biofilter. The main operating parameters considered in the protocol were the empty bed residence time and the gas flow rate. A wide variety of investment and operating costs were considered. In order to check its reliability, the protocol was applied to a number of scenarios, with biofilter volumes ranging from 8.3 to 4000 m3. Results show that total annualized costs were between 20 000 and 220 000 €/year and directly dependent, among other factors, on the size of the system. Total investment and operating costs for average-size compost biofilters were around 60 000 € and 20 000 €/year, respectively, which are concordant with actual costs. Also, a sensitivity analysis was performed in order to assess the relative influence of a series of selected costs. Results prove that operating costs are those that influence the total annual costs to a higher extent. Also, packing material replacement costs contribute significantly to the total yearly costs in biofilters with a volume higher than 800 m3. Among operating costs, the electricity consumption is the main influencing factor in biofilters with a gas flow rate above 50 000 m3/h, while labor costs are critical at lower gas flow rates. In addition, the use of a variety of packing materials commonly employed in biofiltration was assessed. According to the results obtained, special attention should be paid to the packing material selected, as it is the main parameter influencing the medium replacement costs, and one of the main factors affecting investment costs. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2515-2523
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Economical assessment protocol
  • Investment costs
  • Open-bed biofilter
  • Operating costs
  • Packing material costs
  • Waste gas treatment


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