Background: Biofiltration is a suitable odor reduction technique for the treatment of gaseous emissions from composting processes, but little is known about the start-up of full-scale biofilters after material replacement and their performance after several years of operation. Results: Biofilter material (wood chips used previously as bulking agent in a composting process) can effectively remove ammonia and most of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content, achieving removal efficiencies greater than 70% for VOCs and near 90% for ammonia immediately after material replacement. These removal efficiencies were maintained for several months after material replacement. In the studied full-scale biofilter no lag phase was observed in the removal of ammonia whereas in the case of VOCs different patterns were detected during biofilter start-up. For the old biofilter material, after 4 years of operation, a statistically significant decrease of removal efficiency for ammonia in comparison with the new material was detected. No statistically significant differences were found in the case of VOCs. Conclusions: Data on the emissions of several pollutants from biofilters treating composting exhaust gases have been systematically obtained. The tested filtering media presented adequate properties for biofiltration of gases emitted during the composting process. © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry.
- Removal efficiency
- Volatile organic compounds