• Amarsanaa, Altangerel (Department of Environmental Engineering Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Shin, Won-Sik (Department of Environmental Engineering Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Choi, Jeong-Hak (Department of Environmental Engineering Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Choi, Sang-June (Department of Environmental Engineering Kyungpook National University)
  • Published : 2006.02.28


In this study, conventional biofilters packed with flexible synthetic polyurethane (PU) foam carriers were operated to remove toluene from a contaminated air stream. PU foams containing various adsorbents (e.g., zeolite, sepiolite, dolomite and barite) were synthesized for the biofilter media and their adsorption characteristics of toluene were determined. Adsorption capacity of PU-adsorbent foam was in the order of PU-dolomite ${\approx}$ PU-zeolite > PU-sepiolite > PU-barite. During the biofiltration experiment, influent toluene concentration was in the range of 0-160 ppm and EBRT (i.e., empty bed residence time) was 45 seconds. Pressure drop of the biofilter bed was 4-5 mm $H_2O/m$ column height. The maximum removal capacity was in the order of PU-dolomite > PU-zeolite > PU-sepiolite > PU-barite, while the complete removal capacity was in the order of PU-dolomite > PU-sepiolite > PU-zeolite > PU-barite. The better biofiltration performance in PU-dolomite foam was because PU-dolomite foam had lower density and higher porosity than the others providing favorable conditions for microbial growth. The results of biodegradation kinetic analysis showed that PU-dolomite foam had higher maximum removal rate ($V_m\;=\;11.04\;g$ toluene/kg dry material/day) and saturation constant ($K_s\;=\;26.57\;ppm$) than the other PU foams. This supports that PU-dolomite foam was better than the others for biofilteration of toluene.


  1. Devinny, J. S., Deshusses, M. A., and Webster, T. S., Biofiltration for Air Pollution Control, CRC press, Boca Raton, FL, USA (1998)
  2. Martinez, F. A., Polyurethane Foam based Packing Media for Biofilters Removing Volatile Organic Compounds from Contaminated Air, M.S. Thesis, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA (2001)
  3. Torkian, A., Dehghanzadeh, R., and Hakimjavadi, M., 'Biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in a compost biofilter,' J. Chern. Technol. Biotechnol., 78, 795-801 (2003)
  4. Moe, W. M., and Irvine, R. L., 'Polyurethane foam medium for biofiltration. Part II: Operation and Performance,' J. Env. Eng., 126, 826-832 (2000)
  5. Ergas, S. J., Schroeder, E. D., Chang, D. P. Y., and Morton, R. L., 'Control of volatile organic compound emissions using a compost biofilter,' Water Environ. Res., 67, 816-821 (1995)
  6. Moe, W. M., and Irvine, R. L., 'Polyurethane foam based biofilter media for toluene removal,' Wat. Sci. Technol., 43(11), 35-42 (2001)
  7. Moe, W. M., and Irvine, R. L., 'Effect of nitrogen limitation on performance of toluene degrading biofilters during transient loading,' Wat. Res., 35, 1407-1414 (2001)
  8. Kinney, K. A., Wright, W., Chang, D. P., and Schroeder, E. D., Biodegradation of vapor phase contaminants, In: Bioremediation: Principles and Practice. S. K. Sikdar and R. L. Irvine (eds.). Technomic Press, Lancaster, PA, USA (1997)
  9. Ergas, S. J., Schroeder, E. D., and Chang, D. P., Biodegradation technology for volatile organic compound removal from airstreams. Phase I: Performance verification, Prepared for Research Division, California Air Resources Board, Final Report Under Contract No. AO-32-137 (1992)
  10. Sorial, G. A., Smith, F. L.,Suidan, M. T., and Biswas, P., 'Evaluation of trickle bed biofilter media for toluene removal,' J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 45, 801-810 (1995)
  11. Holubar, P., Andorfer, C., and Braun, R., Prevention of clogging in trickling filters for purification of hydrocarbon-contaminated waste air. Proc. of the 1995 Conference on Biofiltration, University of Southern California, Hodge, D. S. and Reynolds, Jr., F. E.. (eds.). 115-122 (1995)
  12. Farmer, R. W., Chen, J.-S., Kopchynski, D. M., and Maier, W. J., Reactor switching: proposed biomass control strategy for the biofiltration process. In: Biological Unit Processes for Hazardous Waste Treatment. R. E. Hinchee, G. D. Sayles and R. S. Skeen (eds.). Battelle Press, 3, 243-248 (1995)
  13. Severin, B. F., Shi, J., Cybul, B. G., Neilson, L. M., and Furstenberg, J. L., High-rate low volume biofilters for industry. WEF: Industrial Wastes Technical Conference. Multimedia Pollution Control and Preventions, Pittsburgh, PA, USA (1995)
  14. Moe, W. M., Irvine, R. L., and Montemagno, C.D., Preliminary investigation of polyurethane foam medium for use in vapor phase biofiltration. Proc. 199 CSCE-ASCE Env. Eng. Coni: Protecting People and the Env., Edmonton, AB, Canada. SJ. Stanley and CJ.W. Ward (eds.). CSCE, Montreal, PQ, 1755-1766 (1997)
  15. Moe, W. M., and Irvine, R. L., 'Polyurethane foam medium for biofiltration. Part I: Characterization,' J. Env. Eng., 126, 815-825 (2000)
  16. Szycher, M., Szychers Handbook of Polyurethanes, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA (1999)
  17. Lu, C., Chu, W., and Lin, M., 'Removal of BTEX vapor from waste gases by a trickle bed biofilter,' J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 50, 411-417 (2000)
  18. Choi, J. H., Jeong, Y. S., Kim, Y. H., Joo, D. J., Choi, S. J., Ha, T. W., Lee, D. H., and Park, I. H., 'Removal of ammonia by biofilters: A study with flow-modified system and kinetics,' J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 53, 92-101 (2003)
  19. Kim, N., Hirai, M., and Shoda, M., 'Comparison of organic and inorganic packing materials in the removal of ammonia gas in biofilters,' J. Hazard. Mater., 72, 77-90 (2000)
  20. Yani, M., Hirai, M., and Shoda, M., 'Removal kinetics of ammonia by peat biofilter seeded with night soil sludge,' J. Ferment. Bioeng., 85, 502-506 (1998)
  21. Liu, Y., Sun, Y., Chen, J., Xue, D., and Chung, J. S., 'Simultaneous removal of ethayl acetate and toluene in air streams using compost-based biofilters,' J. Hazard Mater., 95, 199-213 (2002)
  22. Deshusses, M. A., and Hamer, G., 'The removal of volatile ketone mixtures from air in biofilters,' Bioprocess Eng., 9, 141-146 (1993)
  23. Abumaizar, R. J., Kocher, W., and Smith, E. H., 'Biofiltration of BTEX contaminated air streams using compost-activated carbon filter media,' J. Hazard. Mater., 60, 111-126 (1998)
  24. Delhomenie, M., Bibeau, L., Bredin, N., Roy, S., Broussau, S., Brzezinski, R., Kugelmass, J. L., and Heitz, M., 'Biofiltration of air contaminanted with toluene on a compost-based bed,' Adv. Environ. Res., 6, 239-254 (2002)
  25. Kim, J. O., 'Removal of gaseous tichloroethylene and trachloroethylene by an activated carbon bofilter,' Environ. Eng. Res., 2, 9-19 (1997)
  26. Kim, J. O., and Lee, W. B., 'Removal of gaseous benzene by a biofilter,' J. KSEE, 23(5), 831-838 (2001)
  27. Jun, Y. S., Lee, T. H., Lee, E.Y., Cho, K. S., and Ryu, H. W., 'Characterization of toluene degradation by Enterobacter agglomerans X9-c isolated from a VOC biofilter,' J. KSEE, 23(5), 889-898 (2001)

Cited by

  1. Impact: The Case of Marcus Lucretius House (Pompeii) vol.83, pp.9, 2011,
  2. Removal study of hydrogen sulfide using natural second metabolites vol.13, pp.3, 2008,
  3. Simultaneous biofiltration of H2S, NH3 and toluene using cork as a packing material vol.26, pp.1, 2009,