Retrofitting of an industrial chemical scrubber into a biotrickling filter: Performance at a gas contact time below 1 s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The present work provides a description and an assessment of the conversion of an odor-treating industrial chemical scrubber into a biotrickling filter and of its startup and operation during 5 months at an empty bed residence time of about 0.9 s. The system treats a gas flow rate of around 50,000 m3 h, with average concentrations of volatile organic compounds, N H3 and H2 S, of around 10, 2, and <1 ppmv, respectively. The main actions undertaken during the conversion were the substitution of the recirculation pump and of the packing material and the modification of the makeup water and purge flow controls. Afterwards, the reactor was inoculated with sludge obtained from a waste water treatment facility, and immediately started up as a biotrickling filter. No significant operation issues were observed during the operation period, other than pH variations and a slight increase in pressure drop, proving that the biotrickling filter is a highly robust system. Relatively low removal efficiencies around 10 and 25% were found, for the volatile organic compounds and N H3, respectively. However, due to the low empty bed residence time, these corresponded to notable elimination capacities of around 18 g C m3 h and 3 g N m3 h. No nutrients were supplied to the bioreactor during the first 5 months of operation other than those contained in the sludge employed as inoculum. © 2009 ASCE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-366
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2009


  • Abatement and removal
  • Ammonia
  • Biological treatment
  • Chemical treatment
  • Odors
  • Residence time
  • Volatile organic chemicals


Dive into the research topics of 'Retrofitting of an industrial chemical scrubber into a biotrickling filter: Performance at a gas contact time below 1 s'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this