Potential of Biofiltration for VOCs and Odor Emissions Control in African and Caribbean Countries Perez Sierra, Johanny Arilexis * Supervisors: Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser and Dr.-Ing. Klaus Fischer Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management UniversitĂ¤t Stuttgart, Germany * Corresponding Authorâ€™s E-mail: email@example.com 31.08.2013 Key words: biofiltration, biofilters, odor, VOC, African, Caribbean, emissions control.
Introduction Odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are typical products of industrial processes that may cause nuiasances in the case of odors (Nicell, 2009) and potential environmental threats, regarding VOCs, since these may be precursors of pollutants that degrade the ozone layer (Luo et al., 2011). The latter may be originated from chemical mechanisms, solvent use, petroleum processing, among others (Devinny, Deshusses, & Webster, 1999; Atkinson and Arey, 2003); odors may be generated from livestock, food processing industries, landfills, and waste water treatment plants, among others (Nanda, Sarangi and Abraham, 2012). Biofiltration is a technique that employs a biofilm and a water layer to eliminate odorous compounds and several pollutants in the exhaust gases (Devinny, Deshusses, & Webster, 1999). This technique is a mature technology which has demonstrated to be economically and technically efficient (Adler, 2001). It has been vastly employed in diverse developed countries, such as in Germany, the United States and the Netherlands (Devinny, Deshusses, & Webster, 1999; Leson and Winer, 1991). No publications were found regarding experiences from the utilization of biofilters in African and Caribbean countries (AF&CA). The purpose of this investigation, therefore, was to assess the potential of biofiltration to be established in AF&CA as an effective biological waste air treatment technique. Methodology The methodology consisted of a random selection of four countries from each region and an exhaustive literature review for each country. The research focused on the existence of any regulatory framework (institutions and standards) concerning air quality control or any emission limit values. It was also considered the availability of biofilter materials and companies that distribute them. Moreover, an online survey was designed and distributed among professionals from these countries, in order to have a general impression on the potential of this technology.
Results The research indicates that biofiltration in AF&CA is a latent technology with important application and potential markets. South Africa and Nigeria represent the most feasible countries for a prompt establishment of biofiltration. In each of the four African countries evaluated consulting companies exist that provide services for the monitoring of VOCs and odors. For the case of the Caribbean, in the Dom. Rep., Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago emission targets for some VOCs in particular industrial sectors were found, however, in the case of Cuba, this information was very restricted; nevertheless, legislation aimed at environmental protection were found. The preliminary survey indicated that people recognize that there are problems with odors, though, biofiltration was practically unknown by the participants. Conclusion The outcomes of this research illustrate that Biofiltration is an emission control technology that has considerable applicability in both regions and its introduction will benefit remarkably several productive sectors to enable them to comply with regulations, and towards further implementation of sustainable technologies for the protection of the environment, while fostering improvement to human health. Acknowledgements Sincere thanks to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - International Postgraduate Studies in Water Technologies scholarship (IPSWAT). Extensive thanks to the Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Waste Management (ISWA) and the department of Solid Waste Management, moreover, thanks to all the people from Africa and the Caribbean who very thoughtfully answered the survey part of this research. References 1. Nicell, J. (2009). Assessment and regulation of odour impacts. Journal of Atmospheric Environment 43, pp. 196â€“206. 2. Luo, D., Corey, R., Propper, R., Collins, J., Komorniczak, A., Davis, M., Berger, N. and Lum, S. (2011). Comprehensive environmental impact assessment of exempt volatile organic compounds in California. Journal of Environmental Science and Policy. Vol 14, pp. 585-593. 3. Devinny, Deshusses, & Webster (1999). Biofiltration for air pollution control, CRC Press, LLC, Boca Raton, FL (1999). 4. Atkinson, R. and Arey, J. (2003). Atmospheric degradation of volatile organic compounds. Journal of Chem. Rev. Vol. 103, pp. 4605-4638. 5. Nanda, A., Sarangi, P. and Abraham, J. (2012). Microbial biofiltration technology for odour abatement: an introductory review. Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management, Vo. 3 (2), pp. 28-35. 6. Adler, S. (2001). Biofiltration: a primer. American Institute for Chemical Engineers: Center for Waste Reduction Technologies (CEP). Magazine Environmental Protection, pp. 33-41. 7. Leson, G. and Winer, A. (1991). Biofiltration: an innovative air pollution control technology for VOC emissions. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 41:8, pp. 1045-1054.