Biofiltration is a popular method for removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). One promising medium for biofilters is biomass encapsulated gel beads. Like any other biodegradation system, oxygen concentration is an important factor affecting microbial activities in gel beads and thus the VOC removal efficiency. This paper summarizes the studies on oxygen distribution and diffusivity in k-carrageenan gel beads using oxygen microelectrodes to measure oxygen profiles. By using a reaction-diffusion model and the concentration measurements obtained, a homogeneous diffusivity constant and an oxygen consumption rate constant in k-carrageenan gel beads were estimated. The estimated oxygen diffusivity in the gel bead is 46.3% of the value in water when the bead is immersed in water and 53.9% that of water when the bead is in air with a thin liquid film surrounding it. To provide more information for the design and operation of biofilters using biomass-loaded gel beads, we also investigated and report on effects of biomass immobilization time, TCE influent concentration and TCE gas flow rate on oxygen concentrations in the gel bead.

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