Biological Removal of Ammonia from Contaminated Air Streams Using Biofiltration System

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ABSTRACT

Ammonia is a colorless, toxic, reactive and corrosive gas with a sharp odor. It is irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Ammonia gas occurs in the environment naturally and is emitted by many industries and, therefore, its control is essential. Biofiltration is a new emerging technology that is being used as a control procedure. This study evaluates the use of a mixture of compost, sludge, and pieces of PVC as biofilter media to remove ammonia gas. The study investigates the effects of parameters such as inlet concentration, accumulation time, and depth of filter media to evaluate the removal efficiency. A laboratory scale biofilter column was built and operated to investigate the removal of ammonia from a waste gas stream. The findings indicate that for inlet concentrations of 236 ppm, and ammonia loading of less than 9.86 g-NH3/m3.h at empty bed residence time of 1 min, an ammonia removal efficiency of more than 99.9% was obtained. The acclimation period of the bacteria was 10 days. The average pressure drop during measurement was 4.44 mm H2O. The study also revealed that for concentration levels of 99, 211, and 236 ppmv, biofilter media depths of 40, 80, and 120 cm will be required, respectively. The results obtained in this study indicate that the biofiltration system composed of compost in the mixture of sludge and smashed polyvinyl chloride as biofilter media is an efficient method for the removal of ammonia from waste gas streams. It is also found that the optimum depth of biofilter media depends on the inlet concentration of ammonia.

Keywords: Air pollution , Ammonia , Biofiltration , Biodegradation

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