Transient performance of a two-phase partitioning bioscrubber treating a benzene-contaminated gas stream

David R. Nielsen, Andrew J. Daugulis, P. James Mclellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The dynamic performance of a prototype, two-phase partitioning bioscrubber in response to fluctuating benzene waste gas feeds has been characterized through a series of spike, step, and shutdown-restart experiments. From stable operation at a nominal loading capacity of 62 ± 6 g/(m3 h) and removal efficiencies of over 99%, the bioscrubber was subjected to influent benzene concentration step changes and spikes as high as 10- and 20-fold, respectively. The bioscrubber responded rapidly and effectively to all feed concentration spikes and steps, as well as to step changes in the feed flow rate, maintaining nearly undisturbed performance. Although benzene absorption by the two liquid phases was found to dominate the early stages of each transient, Achromobacter xylosoxidans Y234 responded quickly to prolonged disturbances, readily consuming most of the excess absorbed substrate. The results demonstrate that the two-phase partitioning bioscrubber can rapidly acclimate to and recover from fluctuations, ensuring that stable performance can be maintained both during and after transients. The presence of n-hexadecane promotes benzene capture in the two-phase system by increasing the absorption driving force, an important characteristic during high intermittent loadings. Rapid recovery from two different shutdown scenarios further demonstrates the practical potential of the two-phase partitioning bioscrubber as a high-performance biotechnology alternative for the treatment of toxic waste gases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8971-8977
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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