Two-stage biofilter for effective NH3 Removal from Waste Gases Containing High Concentrations of H2S

Ying Chien Chung, Kuo Ling Ho, Ching-Ping Tseng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A high H2S concentration inhibits nitrification when H2S and NH3 are simultaneously treated in a single biofilter. To improve NH3 removal from waste gases containing concentrated H2S, a two-stage biofilter was designed to solve the problem. In this study, the first biofilter, inoculated with Thiobacillus thioparus, was intended mainly to remove H2S and to reduce the effect of H2S concentration on nitrification in the second biofilter, and the second biofilter, inoculated with Nitrosomonas europaea, was to remove NH3. Extensive studies, which took into account the characteristics of gas removal, the engineering properties of the two biofilters, and biological parameters, were conducted in a 210-day operation. The results showed that an average 98% removal efficiency for H2S and a 100% removal efficiency for NH3 (empty bed retention time = 23–180 sec) were achieved after 70 days. The maximum degradation rate for NH3 was measured as 2.35 g N day-1 kg of dry granular activated carbon-1. Inhibition of nitrification was not found in the biofilter. This two-stage biofilter also exhibited good adaptability to shock loading and shutdown periods. Analysis of metabolic product and observation of the bacterial community revealed no obvious acidification or alkalinity phenomena. In addition, a lower moisture content (40%) for microbial survival and low pressure drop (average 24.39 mm H2O m-1) for system operation demonstrated that the two-stage biofilter was energy saving and economic. Thus, the two-stage biofilter is a feasible system to enhance NH3 removal in the concentrated coexistence of H2S.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

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