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ODOUR REMOVAL FROM WASTE COMPOSTING FACILITY USING PILOT- SCALE FIXED BED BIOFILTERS - 2010

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre (EBCRC) in conjunction with Murdoch University initiated extensive research in odour management utilising fixed bed biofiltration. Odour is a major problem faced by many industries including livestock, poultry, bioprocessing and secondary waste processing. Biofilters are effective in removing odours, but filters deteriorate, necessitating overdesign and regular replacement. From successful lab results field-testing was established at the Southern Regional Metropolitan Council’s (SMRC) Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC).

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The Waste Composting Facility (WCF) of the RRRC processes over 80,000 tonnes of household waste from the green-topped bins per annum, which is converted to compost. The waste is sorted on the tipping floor to separate organic and non-organic material. Organic waste is then processed through one of four biodigesters. Inside the digesters are natural bacteria that start the composting process and generate heat to around 60°C, which destroys any harmful substances and sterilises the material. After screening the immature compost is then spread in the aeration building, in which the conditions are kept humid so the composting bacteria are at the most active and effective. The compost is regularly aerated, turned and watered, to speed up the compositing process. The finished compost is then used as a horticultural nutrition additive or potting mix additive.

a horticultural nutrition additive or potting mix additive. At each stage of the handling and processing

At each stage of the handling and processing odour is ventilated from the enclosed buildings through a series of biofilters to abate the odour. There are four biofilters that are traditional “in-bed” designed system using bark as the filter media. The SMRC have not been satisfied with the levels of odour reduction and the impact on nearby residents. They have made a number of modifications to the biofilter operation, replaced the media, used various media mixes and increased media

Through the RRRC and Climate Wise, the SMRC has prevented a total of 148,591 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (TCO 2 -e) from entering the atmosphere, for the period July 2007 to May 2008. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 42,000 cars.

volume. They sponsor of the EBCRC and aim to seek technology that will improve the biofilter performance at the WCF. Bioaction Pty Ltd (BPL) has developed innovative biofilter designs utilising a unique organic/mineral filtration media. Their innovation is small footprint, low energy, and minimal maintenance biofilter using a homogenous media with surface area, moisture retention, and porosity characteristics suitable for biofiltration. It is a highly robust media that resists mechanical and biological degradation. EBCRC sought the involvement of BPL to provide expertise in biofilter design as well as recognising the potential of their filter media. EBCRC in conjunction with Murdoch University and BPL, commissioned test biofilters at the RRRC site to test biofilter design concept and validate the performance of various media profiles and microbial performance.

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PILOT-SCALE FIXED BED BIOFILTER TESTING

Four pilot-scale biofilters with different media profiles using blends of organic/ mineral blends were located at the corner of existing aeration floor biofilter (Figure 1). Two of the test filters were inoculated using an inoculum from the SMRC existing filter bed. Feed for the four pilot-scale biofilters came directly from the main airflow into the existing biofilter. This odorous air stream was then passed through a divider separating the air stream into 4 sub- streams feeding into the four pilot-scale biofilters (Figure 2). To ensure that all 4 pilot-scale biofilters were fed at the same rate, flow meters were installed for individual sub-streams measurement.

were installed for individual sub-streams measurement. ! F i g u r e ! 1 !

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Figure! 1 ! ) !SMRC!Waste!Composting!Facility !

CASE STUDY – ODOUR REMOVAL WCF

F a c i l i t y ! CASE STUDY – ODOUR REMOVAL WCF Figure!

Figure! 2 ! ) !Test!Biofilters!located!at!the!inflow!plenum !

QUANTIFICATION OF ODOUR REMOVAL EFFICIENCY Two methods of evaluation were employed; 1. Sensory concentration measurements

QUANTIFICATION OF ODOUR REMOVAL EFFICIENCY

Two methods of evaluation were employed;

1. Sensory concentration measurements were taken from the inlet and outlet of the test biofilters using olfactometer to determine the change of odour strength. The odour concentration measurements were performed using dynamic olfactometry according to the Australian Standard ‘Determination of Odour Concentration by Dynamic Olfactometry AS/NZS4323.3: 2001.

Sample

Odour concentration - odour units (OU)

% Odour removal

Odour character

Inflow feed

10,090

N/A

Yoghurt-lactic acid/garbage fruity

Biofilter 1

197

98.0%

Light citrus/earthy/slightly foul

Biofilter 2

239

97.6%

Earthy/slightly piney

Biofilter 3

69

99.3%

Earthy/dirt/wet

Biofilter 4

256

97.5%

Light citrus/earthy/slightly foul

2. Analytical measurement using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) to determine the removal of specific volatile compounds in the air stream. Air samples of one inlet and 4 outlets from the four pilot-scale biofilters were taken using Silco air sampling canisters and immediately sent to the Chemistry Centre of Western Australia for identification and quantification of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and volatile organosulphur compounds (VOSC) as per protocols outlined in US EPA

TO-14A.

 

Input

Reactor 1

Reactor 2

Reactor 3

Reactor 4

COMPOUND

ppb(V)

ppb(V)

ppb(V)

ppb(V)

ppb(V)

Benzene

6.6

5.2

4.7

2.3

3.3

Benzene, 1,2,4-trimethyl

130

150

91

38

79

Benzene, 1,3,5-trimethyl

35

51

25

16

22

Benzene, 1,3-dichloro

15

8.2

13

8.1

9.9

Benzene, ethyl

17

11

6.4

4.1

9.2

Chloroform

1.6

1.5

1.5

< 1.2

< 1.2

Ethane, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloro

< 2.3

9.3

< 2.3

< 2.3

< 2.3

Ethane, 1,2-dichloro

2.1

2.3

2.7

1.3

1.5

Ethene, 1,1-dichloro-, (E)

10

3.4

8.2

3.5

5.8

Methane, dichlorodifluoro

2.7

3.4

3

1.9

1.4

Methane, trichloromonofluoro

3

2.4

1.9

1.6

1.4

Methylene chloride

1.8

2.5

2.3

< 1.2

<

1.2

Styrene

33

7.9

6.3

< 5.8

7.5

Toluene

68

24

38

8.9

7.7

Xylene, m- & p-

72

64

40

30

35

Xylene, o-

32

28

22

13

17

SUMMARY

Based on the two evaluation methods used (olfactometer and GC/MS) in this study, it is clear that biofilters using an organic/mineral media can significantly remove odour from composting facility waste air stream. It however should be noted that this evaluation was the first of a series of evaluations, where we evaluated the efficiency during start-up period only. It is anticipated that during this period physical and chemical adsorption properties of the media blends still played significant role in odourous compounds removal. This is evident by the significantly higher non-polar monoterpenes removal by reactors using organic (hydrophobic) than the reactor using exclusively mineral (hydrophilic) media. Long-term sustainability of odour removal is however based on the microbial communities on filter media surface to degrade the adsorbed compounds and subsequently regenerate the filter media.

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CASE STUDY – ODOUR REMOVAL WCF