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Removing Hydrogen Sulfide from Digester Gas Using Aerobic and Anoxic Biotrickling Filters

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The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Districts) have been using ferrous chloride (FeCl2) to control the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentration in digester gas at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP) for over 30 years. Although FeCl2 has been very effective in controlling digester H2S levels, the cost of this chemical has increased significantly in the last few years. Consequently, the Districts initiated a study to investigate the use of biotrickling filters (BTFs) to control digester gas H2S. Two pilot–scale biotrickling filters were tested under slightly aerobic and anoxic conditions. Two types of filter media, lava rock and plastic rings, were tested in the aerobic filter, and lava rock was tested in the anoxic filter. Concentrated H2S was spiked into the digester gas to simulate elevated H2S levels characteristic of lower FeCl2 doses. For H2S levels between 200 and 400 ppm, the aerobic BTF with a plastic ring media was able to reduce H2S to below the regulatory limit of 40 ppm at empty bed retention times (EBRT) of 20 to 37 seconds. The aerobic lava rock BTF experienced a clogging problem, and the anoxic lava rock BTF was not able to reduce 200 ppm of H2S to below the regulatory limit at an EBRT of 50 seconds.
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Keywords: Biotrickling filter; aerobic process; anaerobic digestion; anoxic process; hydrogen sulfide removal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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