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Physico-chemical Treatment of Tar-Containing Wastewater Generated from Biomass Gasification Plants

Authors: Vrajesh Mehta, Anal Chavan


Treatment of tar-containing wastewater is necessary for the successful operation of biomass gasification plants (BGPs). In the present study, tar-containing wastewater was treated using lime and alum for the removal of in-organics, followed by adsorption on powdered activated carbon (PAC) for the removal of organics. Limealum experiments were performed in a jar apparatus and activated carbon studies were performed in an orbital shaker. At optimum concentrations, both lime and alum individually proved to be capable of removing color, total suspended solids (TSS) and total dissolved solids (TDS), but in both cases, pH adjustment had to be carried out after treatment. The combination of lime and alum at the dose ratio of 0.8:0.8 g/L was found to be optimum for the removal of inorganics. The removal efficiency achieved at optimum concentrations were 78.6, 62.0, 62.5 and 52.8% for color, alkalinity, TSS and TDS, respectively. The major advantages of the lime-alum combination were observed to be as follows: no requirement of pH adjustment before and after treatment and good settleability of sludge. Coagulation-precipitation followed by adsorption on PAC resulted in 92.3% chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal and 100% phenol removal at equilibrium. Ammonia removal efficiency was found to be 11.7% during coagulation-flocculation and 36.2% during adsorption on PAC. Adsorption of organics on PAC in terms of COD and phenol followed Freundlich isotherm with Kf = 0.55 & 18.47 mg/g and n = 1.01 & 1.45, respectively. This technology may prove to be one of the fastest and most techno-economically feasible methods for the treatment of tar-containing wastewater generated from BGPs.

Keywords: lime, Biomass Gasification, activated carbon, coagulation-flocculation, alum, Tar-containing wastewater

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