Oxidation of methane in biotrickling filters inoculated with methanotrophic bacteria

Manuel Cáceres, Antonio D. Dorado, Juan C. Gentina, Germán Aroca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The oxidation of methane (CH4) using biofilters has been proposed as an alternative to mitigate anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions with a low concentration of CH4 that cannot be used as a source of energy. However, conventional biofilters utilize organic packing materials that have a short lifespan, clogging problems, and are commonly inoculated with non-specific microorganisms leading to unpredictable CH4 elimination capacities (EC) and removal efficiencies (RE). The main objective of this work was to characterize the oxidation of CH4 in two biotrickling filters (BTFs) packed with polyethylene rings and inoculated with two methanotrophic bacteria, Methylomicrobium album and Methylocystis sp., in order to determine EC and CO2 production (pCO2) when using a specific inoculum. The repeatability of the results in both BTFs was determined when they operated at the same inlet load of CH4. A dynamic mathematical model that describes the CH4 abatement in the BTFs was developed and validated using mass transfer and kinetic parameters estimated independently. The results showed that EC and pCO2 of the BTFs are not identical but very similar for all the conditions tested. The use of specific inoculum has shown a faster startup and higher EC per unit area (0.019 gCH4 m−2 h−1) in comparison to most of the previous studies at the same CH4 load rate (23.2 gCH4 m−3 h−1). Global mass balance showed that the maximum reduction of CO2 equivalents was 98.5 gCO2eq m−3 h−1. The developed model satisfactorily described CH4 abatement in BTFs for a wide range of conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25702-25712
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number33
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Biofiltration
  • Biotrickling filters
  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Methane oxidation
  • Methanotrophs


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