Rotating drum biofilters (RDBs) are cost-effective for control of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from waste gas streams. In this paper, a dynamic mathematical model is presented which simulates and predicts the variation in performance of a multi-layer RDB with time on the basis of the two-film theory. The model takes into account factors including biofilm growth and biomass loss, and a changing biofilm surface area and thickness assuming quasi-steady-state conditions in the two-phase system and uniform bacterial population. Toluene was assumed to be the only rate-limiting substrate. The model equations for the gas-phase mass balance and biofilm growth were solved using MATLAB based on the fourth-fifth-order Runge–Kutta technique, and the concentration profiles in the biofilms were obtained using the method of orthogonal collocation. Simulation results showed that the toluene removal efficiency decreased with increased toluene loading or increased duration of operation of the biofilter. Calculation results were compared to the experimental results, which demonstrated that the dynamic model provided a good simulation of the performance of the biofilter.

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