Optimization of biofiltration for odor control: Model development and parameter sensitivity

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A dynamic model that describes the mass transport and attenuation of odor-causing air emissions (i.e., hydrogen sulfide and other reduced sulfur compounds) in a biofiltration unit was developed and incorporated into a software package called Biofilter™. Mechanisms included advective flow, mass transfer from the bulk phase to the biofilm, biofilm internal diffusion, and biological reaction in the biofilm. A dimensionless analysis revealed that the mass transport and attenuation of target compounds can be characterized by several dimensionless groups. Model equations were converted to ordinary differential equations using orthogonal collocation and the resulting ordinary differential equations were solved using the DGEAR algorithm. Numerical solutions were verified by comparing model simulations to analytical solutions. The model simulations showed that the existence of a water layer surrounding the biofilm in a biofiltration unit lowers the removal efficiency of hydrogen sulfide. A sensitivity analysis of model parameters (including the film transfer coefficient, biofilm diffusivity, biofilm thickness, maximum specific biomass growth rate, yield coefficient, half-saturation coefficient, and initial active biomass concentration) using data from two biofilters located at the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Water Pollution Control Facilities, showed that biofilm internal diffusion and biofilm kinetics have a significant effect on hydrogen sulfide removal, while external mass transfer has little effect.

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Water Environment Research