Removal of odorous sulphur compounds from industrial gases by biotrickling filters

Abstract A pilot plant for the treatment of Sulphur-based odorous gases was installed in a line of a phosphoric acid plant located in Skhira, Tunisia. The air pollution control system train consisted of a first stage, including a chemical scrubber operating with an alkaline solution containing caustic soda, followed by a two-stage biotrickling filter (BTF) filled with Mytilus edulis shells. This study evaluated the performance of the dual-stage BTF in removing hydrogen sulphide (H2S), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dimethyl sulphide (DMS) from the phosphoric acid reactor's exhaust air current. Concentrations of H2S, SO2 and DMS at the inlet of the two-stage BTF were 10-30 ppm, < 1-20 ppm and 16-30 ppm, respectively. All of the respective concentrations at the outlet of the biological step were < 1 ppm, except for the H2S in the outlet during the first day of operation (10 ppm). Removal efficiencies were generally higher than 95% for all compounds, and remained high even with an increase of the off-gas flow rate. Mass-removal capacity was at least 2.0 g m-3 h-1, 0.5 g m-3 h-1 and 6.2 g m-3 h-1, for H2S, SO2 and DMS, respectively. The removal efficiencies of the process were satisfactory, especially considering the already low inlet concentrations, due to the high quality of the raw phosphate used.