We investigated the behaviour of siloxanes, which adversely affect biogas engines, as well as their concentration levels in sewage sludge biogas in Japan. We also performed experiments on the absorptive removal of siloxanes using various adsorbents and determined the main adsorbent characteristics required for the removal of siloxanes. The results of our study on the concentration and composition of siloxanes in biogas were similar to previous reports. Moreover, we found that the concentration of siloxanes changes in relation to the outside air temperature based on real-time measurements of siloxanes using a continuous analyser. We further speculated that the continuous analyser would accurately indicate the siloxane concentration in model biogas but overestimate the siloxane concentration in actual biogas because of positive interference by VOCs and other biogas components. In the siloxane adsorption experiment, the equilibrium uptake of both cyclic siloxanes, D4 and D5, was positively related to the BET-specific surface area of the adsorbents and the fraction of the external surface area taken up by relatively large diameter pores. We attributed the adsorption results to the fact that the siloxane molecules are generally larger than micropores; therefore, they are less susceptible to adsorption to micropores. Based on these results, we concluded that adsorbents with large BET-specific surface areas, especially those with a high external specific surface area and pores of relatively large diameters, are desired for the removal of siloxanes.
Keywords: adsorptive removal, BET-specific surface area, external surface area, sewage sludge biogas, siloxane, siloxane continuous analyser