Treatment of dynamic mixture of hexane and benzene vapors in a Trickle Bed Air Biofilter integrated with cyclic adsorption/desorption beds

Ashraf Aly Hassan, George A. Sorial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main challenges that face successful biofiltration is the erratic loading pattern and long starvation periods. However, such patterns are common in practical applications. In order to provide long-term stable operation of a biofilter under these conditions, a cyclic adsorption/desorption beds system with flow switching was installed prior to a biofilter. Different square waves of a mixture containing n-hexane and benzene at a 2:1 ratio were applied to the cyclic adsorption/desorption beds and then fed to a biofilter. The performance of this integrated system was compared to a biofilter unit receiving the same feed of both VOCs. The cyclic adsorption/desorption beds unit successfully achieved its goal of stabilizing erratic loading even with very sharp peaks at the influent concentration equalizing influent concentrations ranging from 10-470. ppmv for n-hexane to 30-1410. ppmv for benzene. The study included different peak concentrations with durations ranging from 6 to 20. min. The cyclic beds buffered the fluctuating influent load and the followed biofilter had all the time a continuous stable flow. Another advantage achieved by the cyclic adsorption/desorption beds was the uninterrupted feed to the biofilter even during the starvation where there was no influent in the feed. The results of the integrated system with regard to removal efficiency and kinetics are comparable to published results with continuous feed studies at the same loading rates. The removal efficiency for benzene had a minimum of 85% while for n-hexane ranged from 50% to 77% according to the loading rate. The control unit showed very erratic performance highlighting the benefit of the utilization of the cyclic adsorption/desorption beds. The biofilter was more adaptable to concentration changes in benzene than n-hexane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Biodegradation
  • Biofiltration
  • Cyclic adsorption/desorption bed
  • Fungi
  • Trickle Bed Air Biofilter (TBAB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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