Effect of empty bed residence time on biotrickling filter performance: case study—triethylamine

  • M. Mirmohammadi
  • R. Bayat
  • H. Keshavarzi Shirazi
  • S. Sotoudeheian
Original Paper


In this study, a laboratory-scale biotrickling filter (BTF) is used to remove Triethylamine (TEA) from gaseous wastes. The BTF is made of stainless steel with a height of 210 cm and an internal diameter of 21 cm packed with lava rocks. TEA elimination pattern was evaluated by changing empty bed residence times (EBRTs). The maximum elimination capacity (EC) has been determined to be 87 g/m3/h. At all EBRTs 52, 31, 20, and 10 s, contaminant transferring from gas phase to liquid was more than the EC. Also, the removal efficiency was 100 % for a mass loading of 100 g/m3/h. While the liquid recirculation velocity of 3.466 m3/m2/h was maintained, the flow rate was adjusted to 60, 100, 156, and 312 L/min. The results show that due to the high solubility of TEA in water for all the EBRTs, TEA can be solved in the circulated liquid and then be degraded gradually by microorganisms. Therefore, the least EBRT of 10 s is more appropriate.


Air pollution Biotrickling filter Empty bed residence time (EBRT) Triethylamine 



The authors are most grateful to the laboratory staff of the Dept. of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Environment, Tehran University, for their collaboration in this research.


  1. Akesson B, Skerfving S, Mattiasson L (1988) Experimental study on the metabolism of triethylamine in man. Br J Ind Med 45(4):262–268Google Scholar
  2. Avalos Ramirez A, Peter Jones J, Heitz M (2009) Control of methanol vapours in a biotrickling filter: performance analysis and experimental determination of partition coefficient. Bioresour Technol 100(4):1573–1581. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2008.08.049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belin L, Wass U, Audunsson G, Mathiasson L (1983) Amines: possible causative agents in the development of bronchial hyperreactivity in workers manufacturing polyurethanes from isocyanates. Br J Ind Med 40(3):251–257Google Scholar
  4. Boger T, Salden A, Eigenberger G (1997) A combined vacuum and temperature swing adsorption process for the recovery of amine from foundry air. Chem Eng Process Process Intensif 36(3):231–241. doi: 10.1016/S0255-2701(96)04185-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Budavari S (1996) The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals, 12th edn. Merck, Whitehouse Station, NJGoogle Scholar
  6. Busca G, Pistarino C (2003) Abatement of ammonia and amines from waste gases: a summary. J Loss Prev Process Indus 16(2):157–163. doi: 10.1016/S0950-4230(02)00093-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chou M-S, Shiu W-Z (1997) Bioconversion of Methylamine in Biofilters. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 47 (1):58–65. doi: 10.1080/10473289.1997.10464408 Google Scholar
  8. Cox HHJ, Deshusses MA (2000) Innovative experimental setup for the parallel operation of multiple bench scale biotrickling filters for waste air treatment. Environ Technol 21(4):427–435. doi: 10.1080/09593332108618102 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Devinny JS, Deshusses MA, Webster TS (1999) Biofiltration for air pollution control. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  10. Gandu B, Sandhya K, Gangagni Rao A, Swamy YV (2013) Gas phase bio-filter for the removal of triethylamine (TEA) from air: microbial diversity analysis with reference to design parameters. Bioresour Technol 139:155–160. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.04.030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Golbabai F, Abbaspoour M, Davami P, Malek-Afzali S (2003) Select and design the air pollution treatment for triethylamine by considering environmental aspects as a pollutant in automotive foundry’s industry. In: Paper presented at the 6th National Congress Environmental Health, Mazandaran, IranGoogle Scholar
  12. He Z, Zhou L, Li G, Zeng X, An T, Sheng G, Fu J, Bai Z (2009) Comparative study of the eliminating of waste gas containing toluene in twin biotrickling filters packed with molecular sieve and polyurethane foam. J Hazard Mater 167(1–3):275–281. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.12.116 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaosol T, Pongpat N (2012) Biofilter treating ammonia gas using agricultural residues media. Am J Environ Sci 8(1):64–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee S-H, Li C, Heber AJ, Zheng C (2010) Ethylene removal using biotrickling filters: part I. Experimental description. Chem Eng J 158(2):79–88. doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2009.12.033 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Luvsanjamba M, Sercu B, Van Peteghem J, Van Langenhove H (2008) Long-term operation of a thermophilic biotrickling filter for removal of dimethyl sulfide. Chem Eng J 142(3):248–255. doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2007.11.038 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mehrdadi N, Keshavarzi Shirazi H, Azimi A, Mirmohammadi M (2010) Removal of triethylamine vapor from waste gases by biotrickling filter. Iran J Environ Health Sci Eng 7 (4):337–334. ISSN:1735-1979Google Scholar
  17. Moussavi G, Khavanin A, Sharifi A (2011) Ammonia removal from a waste air stream using a biotrickling filter packed with polyurethane foam through the SND process. Bioresour Technol 102(3):2517–2522. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.11.047 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pohanish RP, Sittig M (2012) Sittig’s handbook of toxic and hazardous chemicals and carcinogens, 6th edn. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  19. Torkian A, Keshavarzi Shirazi H, Azimi A (2005) Effects of Operational Conditions on the Performance of Triethylamine Biofiltration. Iran J Environ Health Sci Eng 2(2):31–40. ISSN:1735-1979Google Scholar
  20. Torkian A, Keshavarzi Shirazi H, Mehrdadi N (2007) Fate of intermediate biodegradation products of triethyl amine in a compost-based biofiltration system. Int J Environ Res 1(2):163–169. ISSN: 1735-6865Google Scholar
  21. TOXNET-Hazardous Substances Data Bank (2011) National Library of Medicine (US). Available from:
  22. Wan S, Li G, An T, Guo B (2011a) Co-treatment of single, binary and ternary mixture gas of ethanethiol, dimethyl disulfide and thioanisole in a biotrickling filter seeded with Lysinibacillus sphaericus RG-1. J Hazard Mater 186(2–3):1050–1057. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.11.099 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wan S, Li G, Zu L, An T (2011b) Purification of waste gas containing high concentration trimethylamine in biotrickling filter inoculated with B350 mixed microorganisms. Bioresourc Technolgy 102(12):6757–6760. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.03.059 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mirmohammadi
    • 1
  • R. Bayat
    • 2
    • 3
  • H. Keshavarzi Shirazi
    • 1
  • S. Sotoudeheian
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EnvironmentUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringSharif University of TechnologyTehranIran
  3. 3.TehranIran

Personalised recommendations