, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 415–421 | Cite as

Addressing biofilter limitations: A two-phase partitioning bioreactor process for the treatment of benzene and toluene contaminated gas streams

  • Colin T. Davidson
  • Andrew J. DaugulisEmail author


A two-phase partitioning bioreactor (TPPB) achievedsimultaneous and continuous removal and degradation of benzene and toluene froman air stream. The aqueous-organic system utilized n-hexadecane as the organicphase, and the organism Alcaligenes xylosoxidans Y234 in the aqueous phaseto achieve the degradation of benzene and toluene. The system, which operates asa well-mixed dispersion and is therefore resistant to substrate surges, was firstshown to be capable of utilizing toluene while operating at a loading capacity of 235 g m-3 h-1with an elimination capacity of 233 g m-3 h-1. It was also determined that to characterize TPPB performance in terms of elimination capacity thedefinition of elimination capacity must be extended to include the cell mass present, a readilycontrollable variable given the nature of the system. Based on this criterion, it wasestimated that for a cell concentration of 1 g l-1 present in the TPPB, thepotential maximum toluene elimination capacity is 1290 g m-3 h-1 whichis substantially higher than any toluene elimination capacity achieved by biofiltersat a high removal efficiency. If no other factor were to limit the system, eliminationcapacities could be many times higher still, and are dependent on maintaining desiredcell concentrations above 1 g l-1. The TPPB was then operated at nominalloading capacities of 63 g m-3h-1 (benzene) and 51 g m-3 h-1 (toluene) at a removal efficiency greater than 99% to demonstratedthe applicability of this system in dealing with two chemical species simultaneously. TPPBsystems therefore have been shown to be effective at removing gaseous organiccontaminants at high removal efficiencies while also possessing desirable operatingfeatures, such as providing and maintaining high cell concentrations throughout thereactor, and a capacity to effectively deal with high contaminant loadings.

degradation partitioning bioreactor toluene 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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