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Biofilter for generation of concentrated sulphuric acid from H2S

Rabbani, K.A., Charles, W., Kayaalp, A., Cord-Ruwisch, R. and Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (2016) Biofilter for generation of concentrated sulphuric acid from H2S. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23 (16). pp. 16781-16789.

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Biofilters are used for the conversion of odorous hydrogen sulphide to odourless sulphate in wastewater treatment plants under the right conditions of moisture and pH. One of the consequences of maintaining the suitable pH and moisture content is the production of large volumes of weakly acidic leachate. This paper presents a biofilter with a maximum H2S elimination capacity of 16.3 g m−3 h−1 and removal efficiency greater than 95 % which produces small volumes (1 mL of solution L−1 of reactor day−1) of sulphuric acid with a concentration greater than 5.5 M after 150 days of continuous operation. The concentrated sulphuric acid was produced by intermittently trickling a minimum amount of nutrient solution down the upflow biofilter which created a moisture and pH gradient within the biofilter resulting in an environment at the top for the bacterial conversion of H2S, while sulphuric acid was accumulated at the base. Genetic diversity profiling of samples taken from different sections of the biofilter confirms that the upper sections of the biofilter had the best environment for the bacteria to convert H2S to sulphate. The formation of concentrated sulphuric acid presents an opportunity for the recovery of sulphur from the waste stream as a usable product.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
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