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Using a Biotrickling Filter System to Remove Hydrogen Sulfide from Digester Gas

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Digester gas usually contains a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, and a small amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S ontrolled, H2S can contribute to odors, cause corrosion problems, and lead to sulfur oxides (SOX) formation if digester gas is combusted. The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Districts) use iron salt to control H2S levels in the headspace of anaerobic digesters at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP) in Carson, California. With increasing chemical costs, the Districts decided to explore the possibility of using biological methods for H2S control. In this study, the Districts used a pilot-scale biotrickling filter system to investigate the conditions under which H2S could be effectively removed from the JWPCP digester gas. Results from the study indicated that greater than 95% of H2S in the digester gas could be removed at an empty bed residence time (EBRT) of 15 seconds at an H2S concentration of 30 ppmv/v. To achieve greater than 95% of H2S removal at a H2S concentration of 200 ppmv/v, an EBRT of approximately 20 seconds was necessary. The biotrickling filter media became clogged after seven weeks of operation at the elevated H2S concentrations (200 ppmv/v). Fouling was determined to be due to elemental sulfur being deposited on the biotrickling filter media. Research is on-going to determine the operating conditions that will minimize media fouling and media cleaning methods to allow treatment of digester gas containing H2S in the range of 200 ppmv/v.
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Keywords: Biotrickling filter; anaerobic digestion; hydrogen sulfide removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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