Microaeration for hydrogen sulfide removal during anaerobic treatment: a review

  • Lucie KrayzelovaEmail author
  • Jan Bartacek
  • Israel Díaz
  • David Jeison
  • Eveline I. P. Volcke
  • Pavel Jenicek
Review paper


High sulfide concentrations in biogas are a major problem associated with the anaerobic treatment of sulfate-rich substrates. It causes the corrosion of concrete and steel, compromises the functions of cogeneration units, produces the emissions of unpleasant odors, and is toxic to humans. Microaeration, i.e. the dosing of small amounts of air (oxygen) into an anaerobic digester, is a highly efficient, simple and economically feasible technique for hydrogen sulfide removal from biogas. Due to microaeration, sulfide is oxidized to elemental sulfur by the action of sulfide oxidizing bacteria. This process takes place directly in the digester. This paper reviews the most important aspects and recent developments of microaeration technology. It describes the basic principles (microbiology, chemistry) of microaeration and the key technological factors influencing microaeration. Other aspects such as process economy, mathematical modelling and control strategies are discussed as well. Besides its advantages, the limitations of microaeration such as partial oxidation of soluble substrate, clogging the walls and pipes with elemental sulfur or toxicity to methanogens are pointed out as well. An integrated mathematical model describing microaeration has not been developed so far and remains an important research gap.


Anaerobic digestion Biogas Elemental sulfur Hydrogen sulfide removal Microaeration Sulfide oxidizing bacteria 



Anaerobic baffled reactor


Biotrickling filter


Continuous stirred tank reactor


Dissolved oxygen


Expanded granular sludge bed


Fluidized bed reactor


Internal circuit reactor


Microaerobic desulfurization unit


Oxidation–reduction potential




Supervisory control and data acquisition


Sulfide-oxidizing bacteria


Sulfide-oxidizing unit


Sulfate-reducing bacteria


Total nitrogen


Up-flow anaerobic filter


Up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor


Volatile fatty acid



This research was financially supported by the specific university research (MSMT No. 20/2015), the International Research Staff Exchange Scheme project “Renewable energy production through microalgae cultivation: Closing material cycles—ALGAENET” (PIRSES-GA-2011-295165) and by the Technology Agency of Czech Republic—Project TA03021413. Lucie Krayzelova received funding for a joint doctorate from Ghent University’s Special Research Fund (BOF—01SF2012). David Jeison would like to thank for support provided by CRHIAM Centre (CONICYT/FONDAP/15130015).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucie Krayzelova
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jan Bartacek
    • 1
  • Israel Díaz
    • 3
  • David Jeison
    • 4
  • Eveline I. P. Volcke
    • 2
  • Pavel Jenicek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Water Technology and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Chemistry and Technology PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Biosystems EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental TechnologyUniversity of ValladolidValladolidSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Ingeniería QuímicaUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile

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