Removal of benzene under acidic conditions in a controlled Trickle Bed Air Biofilter

Ashraf Aly Hassan, George A. Sorial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Trickle Bed Air Biofilters (TBABs) are considered to be economical and environmental-friendly for treatment of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Hydrophilic VOCs are easily degradable while hydrophobic ones pose a great challenge for adequate treatment due to the transfer of the VOC to the liquid phase. In this study the utilization of acidic pH is proposed for the treatment of benzene vapors. The acidic pH would encourage the growth of fungi as the main consortium. A TBAB operated at pH 4 was used for the treatment of an air stream contaminated with benzene under different loading rates ranging from 37 to 76.8g/(m3h). The purpose of introducing fungi was to compare the performance with traditional TBAB operating under neutral pH in order to assess the biodegradation of benzene in mixtures with other compounds favoring acidic conditions. The experimental plan was designed to assess long-term performance with emphasis based on different benzene loading rates, removal efficiency with TBAB depth, and carbon mass balance closure. At benzene loading rate of 64g/(m3h), the removal efficiency was 90%. At the maximum loading rate of 77g/(m3h), the removal efficiency was 75% marking the maximum elimination capacity for the TBAB at 58.8g/(m3h). Operating at acidic pH successfully supported the degradation of benzene in TBAB. It is worthwhile to note that benzene appears in mixtures with n-hexane and toluene, which are reported to be better degraded under such conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-349
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Biofiltration
  • Empty Bed Residence Time (EBRT)
  • Fungi
  • Trickle Bed Air Biofilter (TBAB)
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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