A bioactive foam reactor for the removal of volatile organic compounds: System performance and model development

Ji Hyeon Song, Yongsik Kim, Younggyu Son, Jeehyeong Khim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A bioactive foam reactor (BFR), a novel bioreactor operated using surfactant foams and suspended microorganisms for the treatment of gaseous toluene, was investigated to characterize its performance with respect to the mass transfer and biodegradation rates. The BFR system consisted of two reactors in series; a foam column for toluene mass transfer using fine bubbles and a cell reservoir where suspended microorganisms actively biodegraded toluene. In this study, a series of short-term experiments demonstrated that the BFR could achieve stable removal performance and a high elimination capacity (EC) for toluene at 100.3 g/m3/h. A numerical model, combining mass balance equations for the mass transfer and subsequent biodegradation, resulted in reasonable agreement with the experimental findings. At an inlet toluene concentration of 100 ppmv, the toluene concentration in the liquid phase remained extremely low, indicating that the microbial activity was not hindered in the BFR system. However, the experimental and model prediction results showed that the actual mass of toluene transferred into the liquid phase was not closely balanced with the amount of toluene biodegraded in the BFR used in this study. Consequently, methods, such as increasing the effective volume of the foam column or the mass transfer coefficient, need to be implemented to achieve higher toluene EC and better BFR performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov


  • Bioactive foam reactor
  • Mass transfer
  • Surfactant
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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