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J Air Waste Manage Assoc. 1991 Aug;41(8):1045-54.

Biofiltration: an innovative air pollution control technology for VOC emissions.

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RMT, Inc., Santa Monica, California.


Biofiltration is a relatively recent air pollution control (APC) technology in which off-gases containing biodegradable volatile organic compounds (VOC) or inorganic air toxics are vented through a biologically active material. This technology has been successfully applied in Germany and The Netherlands in many full-scale applications to control odors, VOC and air toxic emissions from a wide range of industrial and public sector sources. Control efficiencies of more than 90 percent have been achieved for many common air pollutants. Due to lower operating costs, biofiltration can provide significant economic advantages over other APC technologies if applied to off-gases that contain readily biodegradable pollutants in low concentrations. Environmental benefits include low energy requirements and the avoidance of cross media transfer of pollutants. This paper reviews the history and current status of biofiltration, outlines its underlying scientific and engineering principles, and discusses the applicability of biofilters for a wide range of specific emission sources.

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