Nitrification processes in scrubbing liquid of an exhaust air treatment system of a large-scale pig housing facility

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The use of multi-staged exhaust air treatment systems is an effective method of substantially reducing the emission of ammonia, dust particles and odorous substances. Wet filter walls are able to absorb large amounts of ammonia when scrubbing fluid containing sulphuric acid is used. In addition, due to their large surface areas and the permanent supply of oxygen and nutrients, wet filter walls provide a basis for the development of biofilms containing nitrogen-converting bacteria. Cyclic nitrification processes could be observed in a two-stage exhaust air treatment system, which had been converted to function as a regulated process control system (elutriation at κ = 20 mS cm−1; pH 6.5–6.8). With this system, the sulphuric acid requirement was periodically reduced every 6–8 weeks to less than 1 kg H2SO4 per fattening place and year. There was an increased formation of nitrous oxide gas during nitrification after the wet filter stage. Electron-microscopic images of the biofilm growing on the wet filter wall showed aggregates of possible ammonium-oxidising and nitrite-oxidising bacteria.

Keywords: biofilm, exhaust air treatment system, nitrification, pig housing, sulphuric acid

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