Investigation into the viability of a liquid-film three-phase spouted bed biofilter

Phillip C. Wright, Judy A. Raper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of technologies exist for the treatment of malodorous air streams, including adsorption, absorption, catalytic combustion, biofiltration and bioscrubbing. Conventional packed bed biofiltration of malodorous substances from waste gas streams has the disadvantages of large unit surface area and relatively uncontrolled design principles. The large bed surface area leads to difficulties in maintaining even moisture and temperature profiles. In addition, the control of such biologically important parameters as pH is difficult. Novel fluidized/spouted beds were studied for biological treatment of gases because of their high specific gas flowrate and vigorous mixing which facilitates enhanced gas-biomass contact. Trials of a range of fluidized and spouted beds, with gas loadings of up to 14 000 m3-gas m-2-bed h-1, were carried out on various biofilm support media including glass ballotini, rice hulls, plastic discs and granules, silica gel, molecular sieves, vermiculite, perlite, activated carbon, cork, polystyrene and expanded clay. Severe aggregation and wall adhesion restricted the operational range of the reactors. Particle suitability was based on a combination of shape, density, size, porosity and wettability, with large, heavy day particles performing best. Limited gas-phase bacterial studies on selected media with ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria demonstrated the potential of fluidized/spouted beds for efficient biofiltration of ammonia (20-40 mg dm-3).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


  • Biofiltration
  • Defluidization
  • Fluidized/fluidized bed
  • Solid state fermentation
  • Spouted bed


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