The emission of hydrogen sulphide is a major problem associated with anaerobic treatment of sulphate and sulphite containing wastewaters. Conventional absorbing processes, such as packed towers, spray towers or bubble columns, are all constrained by factors such as flooding and foaming. Membrane systems, on the other hand, enable independent control of the liquid and gas flow rate and a step change order of magnitude increase in the specific surface area of the contact process. The membrane acts as a gas absorber with a design similar to a shell and tube heat exchanger. On the other hand, they are limited by facets of the membrane such as its resistance to mass transfer and permselectivity, as well as its cost. The work presented in this paper refers to an absorption process based on a non-wetted hollow fibre membrane for the scrubbing of hydrogen sulphide from air, with water as the contact solvent. Results presented describe the performance of the unit in terms of overall transfer and outlet liquid concentration as a function of circulation regime, gas flow rate, liquid flow rate and specific surface area. In particular, results are presented using traditional plots of Sherwood number (Sh) against Graetz (Gr) number for the liquid flowing in the lumens, such that experimental and available empirical descriptions of the process performance are directly compared. Results suggest that, as expected, very efficient mass transfer is obtained. However, the mass transfer was found to reach a maximum value against Gr, contrary to available empirical models.

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