Evaluation of trickle-bed air biofilter performance for styrene removal

George A. Sorial, Francis L. Smith, Makram T. Suidan, Amit Pandit, Pratim Biswas, Richard C. Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


A pilot-scale trickle-bed air biofilter (TBAB) was evaluated for the removal of styrene from a waste gas stream. Six-millimeter (6-mm) Celite pellets (R-635) were used as the biological attachment medium. The operating parameters considered in the study included the styrene volumetric loading, the empty-bed residence time (EBRT), the frequency and duration of backwashing, and nutrient-phosphorous (nutrient-P) management as a biomass control strategy. The aim of the study was to demonstrate that high removal efficiencies could be sustained over a long period. Periodic backwashing of the biofilter with full-medium fluidization was necessary for removing excess biomass and attaining stable, long-term high removal efficiencies. Styrene removal efficiencies in the 99%+ level were achieved for volumetric loading rates up to 2.93 kg COD/m3·day and a 1-min EBRT. With a COD volumetric loading rate of 4.26 kg COD/m3·day and a 0.67-min EBRT, removal efficiencies in the 97-99% level were achieved. Evaluations of pseudo steady-state performance data, 1 day following backwashing, yielded first order removal rate constants that were dependent on EBRT. Nutrient-phosphorus (nutrient-P) limitations failed to provide a strategy for biomass control while at the same time maintaining acceptable performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1593-1603
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Backwashing
  • Biomass
  • EBRT
  • Loading
  • Media
  • Phosphorous
  • Pilot-scale
  • Styrene
  • TBAB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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