Biofiltration for Treating Waste Gasses Contaminated
With Volatile Organic Compounds
This project is being conducted by graduate student
Bill Moe, under the direction of advisor Robert L. Irvine in the Department
Engineering and Geological Sciences, 156 Fitzpatrick Hall, University
of Notre Dame
This project focuses primarily on vapor-phase biofiltration, the use
of immobilized microorganisms to remove and degrade organic contaminants
from waste gases. This is a significant and growing field as researchers
in academia and industry alike seek new ways to safely, economically,
and effectively control air pollution originating from industrial
operations as well as environmental remediation projects.
The specific applications of this technology involve operating strategy
and performance enhancements during discontinuous or periodic operation.
This is an area neglected by many researchers but which plays a significant
role in performance. Past research efforts by several researchers
at Notre Dame on periodic processes to biologically treat hazardous
make this an ideal area for exploration.
Compounds currently being treated by biofiltration include isopropylbenzene
and toluene. Isopropylbenzene, commonly called cumene, is produced
as an intermediate during the industrial production of phenol. Toluene
is a component of gasoline which is a common environmental pollutant.
Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBRs) and sequencing Bath Biofilm Reactors
(SBBRs) are being operated to culture microorganisms to innoculate
biofilters and also to study kinetics of biodegradation of organic
Texaco Research & Development recently donated nearly $11,000
worth of biofiltration equipment to Notre Dame for use on this project.
Technical Center, operated by RUST Federal Services, generously
donated three gas chromatographs for use in this project.