High VOC Loadings in Biofilters - Petroleum and Industrial Applications

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More cost effective alternate technologies are needed to meet the demands of existing and upcoming Federal air regulations. Bio-Reaction Industries, Inc. (BRI) has developed a patented, modular, high-rate, vapor-phase biofilter that has provided such a solution for a major oil company for the past four years. This compact system has adsorbed and digested high VOC surge concentrations (over 90,000 PPMV) from a glycol dehydrator in a high CO2, corrosive environment. System design changes, operation/maintenance costs, process economics and performance data will be presented. The system’s capabilities for a variety of low flow (10 cfm) petroleum/natural gas process vents and
storage tanks will also be covered.  In addition, a higher flow system with a new bed design has undergone extensive
research and development by BRI. Performance results for the system installed in a paint booth application will be presented along with capital purchase and operation economics.

An excellent and up-to-date compendium on vapor phase biofilters has recently been published by Devinny, Deshusses and Webster, and should be referred to for an indepth analysis of the technology.  Air pollution control technologies in the United States have historically been based on physical-chemical systems. Unlike the wastewater treatment industry, the air treatment industry has had relatively little experience in the use of biological systems. Although vapor phase biofilters (biofilters) have been undergoing development in both the United States and Europe since the mid 1950's, as described by Ergas, industrial acceptance and application of this technology has proceeded at a significantly greater rate in Europe.  Part of the reason is that most European nations did not implement the strict 'command and control' approach to environmental regulations promulgated in the United States.

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