Industrial Biofiltration

How Does An Industrial Biofilter Work?


Biofiltration is a process to purify air and water biologically with the aid of micro-organisms, specifically bacteria.

How Does Industrial Biofilter Work?

In the simplest terms, a biofilter is a device that utilizes natural biological oxidation for the destruction and / or removal of hydrocarbons (or CS2, H2S, NH3), that is to say biofiltration is the degradation of organic and inorganic substances by micro-organisms. These micro-organisms live in a biofilm coating that resides on the surface of a media composed of organic or inorganic (or a combination thereof) matter. The micro-organisms are stationary in regard to the system as a whole, though they are mobile in their localized biofilm area. The process gases containing the contaminants to be treated flow through the media, and as these gases flow by, molecules of contaminants pass very near to or directly contact the biofilm where they are absorbed into the biofilm. Noting that the biofilm is primarily composed of water one can see clearly that a compounds solubility in water will greatly impact ease of degradation because if the compound does not enter the biofilm then it cannot be decomposed by the micro-organisms in that biofilm. 

The biofilm also creates a fixed (more or less) inhabitable space that can only be utilized by a finite maximum number of organisms. The organisms will grow and expand until the available space (biofilm) is filled resulting in situation where no more effective growth can occur. This means that the effective amount of the summation of biomass (dead and alive) in the unit is at a relative constant. 

Industrial Biofiltration


An Industrial Biofilter is a housing that contains and encourages the growth of vast numbers of bacteria through regulated temperature, humidity, and pH for the destruction of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and odor causing compounds (including NH3, CS2, H2S), in a way that can be quantified and measured, often for compliance purposes. 

Industrial biofilters utilize a group of aerobic organisms that are classified as chemotropic, meaning they derive the energy needed to live and degrade compounds from the reaction itself. As a point of fact organisms that derive their required energy from sunlight are classified as phototropic. Two sub-groups of the chemotrophs are the hetero-organotrophs and auto-lithotrophs. The sub-group mainly utilized in biofilters are the hetero-organotrophs, which have the ability to utilize the carbon in carbon compounds (i.e. methanol) as an energy source as well as the creation of cell components. As a point of fact auto-lithotrophs gain their energy through the degradation of non-organic compounds (NH3, H2S, S2O3, etc.).

Naturally Degrades Many Compounds


Biofilters can be used to degrade many different kinds of compounds with a wide range of industries. Some of the compounds that can be degraded include:

  • Acetone
  • Aliphatic Hydrocarbons
  • Ammonia
  • Anthranilates
  • Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Butadiene
  • Carbon Disulfide
  • Esters
  • Ethanol
  • Ethers
  • Formaldehyde
  • Heptane
  • Hexane
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Isopropanol
  • Isopropyl acetate
  • Ketones
  • Methyl Ethel Ketone (MEK)
  • Methanol
  • n-Propanol
  • N-propyl acetate
  • Pesticides
  • Phenol
  • Pinenes
  • Styrene
  • Terpenes
  • VM&P naptha

Serves a Variety of Industries


On what processes are Biofilters used?

Biofilters have been employed on various processes and pieces of process equipment such as:

  • Composting
  • Door & Window Manufacturing
  • Flavor & Fragrance Production
  • Food Processing
  • Frying Operations
  • Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
  • Paint Spray Booths
  • Particleboard Manufacturing
  • Pet Food Production
  • Petro-Chemical Plants
  • Pharmaceutical Production
  • Photo and Film Production
  • Printing
  • Pulp & Paper Manufacturing
  • Sewage Processing Plants
  • Tanneries
  • Textile Fabrication
  • Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP)

Ideal for Large Air Flows


Industrial Biofilters can be designed to handle mega air flows greater than 2,000,000 CFM.

What factors influence the sizing of Biofilters?

There are many factors that can affect the correct sizing of a biofilter. Some characteristics such as a compound's solubility in water have a greater impact than others. Some factors include:

  • A compound's Solubility in water
  • A compound's Concentration
  • A compound's Henry's Law Constant
  • A compound's Diffusion rate
  • Temperature of the flue gas
  • Media density
  • Media porosity

Designed for EPA & MACT Compliance


OCP&E® is pleased to offer PPC Industrial Biofiltration to meet or exceed EPA & MACT Compliance for your project.


Our mission is to make the world a safer place to breathe and live by removing harmful contaminants, particulates and greenhouse gases from industrial processes. Our goal is to help our customers reduce their environmental footprint by providing long lasting reliable pollution control equipment.

  • Particulate Control
  • VOC Control
  • NOx Control
  • Odor Control
  • Opacity Control
  • CO Control
  • PM 2.5
  • HF, HCl, SO2 & SO3 Control