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A new support for biofilters

By Chemical Engineering |

Researchers from the Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Center (Sydney and Perth, Australia; www.ebcrc.com.au) have developed a new way to harness bacteria to biodegrade odor-causing substances. Traditional biofilters typically employ compost supported on wood chips to trap the odor-producing substances, and rely on micro-organisms in the compost to break down those substances. The center’s executive director, David Garman, says that “while bacteria can deal with a wide range of odors, their unreliability, poor viability and poor performance in normal biofilter systems mean that often operators prefer to use simpler chemical systems. Some of these systems are effective at masking the odors but do not remove or break them down.” The center’s new technology replaces the compost and wood chips by a non-biodegradable matrix that also acts as an adsorbent. A naturally occurring zeolite is used for that purpose. The electrically charged surface of the zeolite and the internally porous crystalline structure of regularly spaced cavities provide large surface area and molecular sieve properties. According to the researchers, those properties make zeolite a filter bed material capable of adsorbing odors,…
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