Bio-Reaction Industries LLC.

Biofiltration of VOCs for Paint Manufacturing and Coatings Applications

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Courtesy of Bio-Reaction Industries LLC.

Biofilters, long used in Europe for odour control because of low maintenance, energy and operating costs have had a difficult time penetrating the US. The energy crisis and the cry for sustainable technologies have created interest in pollution control devices that reduce emissions and are energy efficient. This paper will discuss technical performance, design factors and economics of a biofiltration system with a smaller “footprint” that is less susceptible to upsets caused by alterations in VOC concentrations and changes in environment. Installations at a paint manufacturer and on a paint spray booth are discussed.

'Biofiltration technology' is, in fact, merely man's harnessing of natural processes that can be utilized for VOC, HAP and odor control. These ubiquitous natural processes take place in every forest and field around the globe, in most natural waterways, in the mountains of waste and garbage generated by society, in the sewage treatment systems and even in the digestive tracts of all animals.

Biofiltration relies on the natural destruction of organic matter by microorganisms and 'biofiltration technology' might be considered the cultivation or farming of specific natural macro-organisms and microorganisms (bacteria) to accomplish a specific, desired objective. When used for vapor phase pollution control, the 'harvest' is removal of a broad variety of chemicals from an air emission stream. Therefore, the healthier the crop (of organisms), the cleaner the exhaust air will be. Since the organisms are natural and self-generating, their future supply is unlimited; they truly are 'sustainable'. There is only a risk of exhausting the immediate supply or the operating and maintenance cost becoming prohibitive. Further, since they can be 'trained' to propagate using almost any air contaminant as their “food”, the cultivation of a specific crop is relatively easy. To thrive, they require only oxygen, a steady source of nutrient, a warm, humid, environment and a surface on which to adhere.

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