Optimization of SO2 and NOx sequential wet absorption in a two-stage bioscrubber for elemental sulphur valorisation

Xavier Guimerà*, Mabel Mora, Antonio David Dorado, Anna Bonsfills, David Gabriel, Xavier Gamisans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Flue gases contain SO2 and NOx that can be treated together for elemental sulphur recovery in bioscrubbers, a technology that couples physical-chemical and biological processes for gaseous emissions treatment in a more economic manner than classical absorption. Sequential wet absorption of SO2 and NOx from flue gas is thoroughly studied in this work in a two-stage bioscrubber towards elemental sulphur valorisation pursuing reuse of biological process effluents as absorbents. The optimal operating conditions required for SO2 and NOx absorption in two consecutive spray absorbers were defined using NaOH-based absorbents. Overall, removal efficiencies of 98.9% and 55.9% for SO2 and NOx abatement were obtained in two in-series scrubbers operated under a gas contact time of 1 and 100 s, and a liquid-to-gas ratio of 7.5 and 15 L m−3, respectively. Higher NOx removal efficiency to clean gas emission was obtained by oxidants dosing in the absorber for NOx absorption. High NaHCO3 concentration in a two-stage bioscrubber effluent was exploited as alkaline absorbent for flue gas treatment. The performance of scrubbers using an absorbent mimicking a reused effluent exhibited the same removal efficiencies than those observed using NaOH solutions. In addition, the reuse of bioprocess effluent reduced reagents’ consumption by a 63.7%. Thus, the two-stage bioscrubber proposed herein offers an environmentally friendly and economic alternative for flue gas treatment.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bioscrubber
  • Desulphurization
  • Flue gas treatment
  • NO
  • SO valorisation


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