THE USE OF BIOFILTERS TO IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY: THE REMOVAL OF TOLUENE, TCE, AND FORMALDEHYDE
A biofilter composed of a scrubber, a hydroponic planting system, and an aquatic system with green plants as a base maintained air quality within part of a modern office building. The scrubber was composed of five parallel fiberglass modules with external faces of porous lava rock. The face, largely covered with mosses, was wetted by recirculating water. Air was drawn through the scrubber and the immediately adjacent hydroponic region by a dedicated air handling system. The system was challenged for 4 weeks with three common indoor organic pollutants and removed significant amounts of all compounds. A single pass through the scrubber removed 10% of the trichloroethylene and 50% of the toluene. A single pass lowered formaldehyde air concentrations to 13 μg m−3 irrespective of influent levels (ranging between 30 and 90 pg m-3). The aquatic system accumulated trichloroethylene but neither toluene nor formaldehyde, suggesting the rapid breakdown of these materials. The botanical components removed some pollutants.
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