Feasibility of S-rich streams valorization through a two-step biosulfur production process

M Mora, E Fernández-Palacios, X Guimerà, J Lafuente, X Gamisans, D Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A bioscrubbing process named SONOVA has been developed, tested and assessed herein to valorize flue gases containing SOx. The process consists in a first scrubbing stage, to absorb and oxidize SO2 to sulfate, followed by a two-step biological stage. It consists of (1) an up-flow anaerobic sludge (UASB) reactor to reduce sulfate to sulfide with crude glycerol and (2) a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) to partially oxidize sulfide to elemental sulfur (S0). SONOVA integrates the reutilization of resources, using the effluent of the biological stage as a sorbent agent and the residual heat of flue gases to dry the product. S0 is then obtained as a value-added product, which nowadays is produced from fossil fuels. In this research, SO2 concentrations up to 4000 ppmv were absorbed in 2 s of gas contact time in the spray-scrubber with removal efficiencies above 80%. The UASB reduced up to 9.3 kg S-Sulfate m-3 d-1 with sulfide productivities of 6 kg S m-3 d-1 at an hydraulic retention time (HRT) as low as 2 h. Finally, CSTR was fed with the UASB effluent and operated at HRT ranging from 12 h to 4 h without biomass wash-out. Sulfide was fully oxidized to S0 with a productivity of 2.3 kg S m-3 d-1 at the lowest HRT tested. Overall, this research has explored not only maximum capabilities of each SONOVA stage but has also assessed the interactions between the different units, which opens up the possibility of recovering S0 from harmful SOx emissions, optimizing resources utilization and costs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number126734
Pages (from-to)126734
Early online date8 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Bioscrubber
  • Biosulfur
  • Flue gas valorization
  • Integrated process
  • SOx emissions
  • UASB


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