H2S removal from sour water in a combination system of trickling biofilter and biofilter

Environ Res. 2020 May:184:109380. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109380. Epub 2020 Mar 10.


Desulfurization of sour water was investigated in a combination system of trickling biofilter (BTF) and biofilter (BF) filled with ceramic packing materials. A critical elimination capacity (EC) of 251.93 g S m-3 h-1 was obtained for the BTF/BF system during a stepwise increase of sulfide concentration from 10 to 60 g S m-3. This stepwise increment of loading rate also led to critical ECs of 176.21 and 478.88 g S m-3 h-1 for BTF and BF, respectively. A dynamic model describing biological H2S removal from sour water in the BTF/BF was developed and calibrated by a set of experimental data. The model includes the main processes occurring in the BTF/BF such as mass transfer between phases, diffusion and biological reaction inside the biofilm. The model also considers the intermediate (elemental sulfur) production/consumption and sulfate formation through the different oxidation pathways. The model validation was performed under a starvation period and a dynamic H2S loading period. A sensitivity analysis was carried out to evaluate the relative importance of the key parameters on the performance of the BTF/BF system. Sensitivity analysis showed that the BTF performance is more affected by the parameters related to H2S mass transfer.

Keywords: Biological removal; Hydrogen sulfide; Modeling; Sour water; Trickling biofilter.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Bioreactors*
  • Filtration
  • Hydrogen Sulfide*
  • Sulfur
  • Water


  • Water
  • Sulfur
  • Hydrogen Sulfide