Retrofitting existing chemical scrubbers to biotrickling filters for H2S emission control

David Gabriel, Marc A. Deshusses*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    195 Citations (Scopus)


    Biological treatment is a promising alternative to conventional air-pollution control methods, but thus far biotreatment processes for odor control have always required much larger reactor volumes than chemical scrubbers. We converted an existing full-scale chemical scrubber to a biological trickling filter and showed that effective treatment of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the converted scrubber was possible even at gas contact times as low as 1.6 s. That is 8-20 times shorter than previous biotrickling filtration reports and comparable to usual contact times in chemical scrubbers. Significant removal of reduced sulfur compounds, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds present in traces in the air was also observed. Continuous operation for >8 months showed stable performance and robust behavior for H2S treatment, with pollutant-removal performance comparable to that achieved by using a chemical scrubber. Our study demonstrates that biotrickling filters can replace chemical scrubbers and be a safer, more economical technique for odor control.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6308-6312
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2003


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