Use of sulfate reducing cell suspension bioreactors for the treatment of SO2 rich flue gases

P.N.L. Lens, R. Gastesi, G. Lettinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a novel bioscrubber concept for biological flue gas desulfurization, based on the recycling of a cell suspension of sulfite/sulfate reducing bacteria between a scrubber and a sulfite/sulfate reducing hydrogen fed bioreactor. Hydrogen metabolism in sulfite/sulfate reducing cell suspensions was investigated using batch activity tests and by operating a completely stirred tank reactor (CSTR). The maximum specific hydrogenotrophic sulfite/sulfate reduction rate increased with 10% and 300%, respectively, by crushing granular inoculum sludge and by cultivation of this sludge as cell suspension in a CSTR. Operation of a sulfite fed CSTR (hydraulic retention time 4 days; pH 7.0; sulfite loading rate 0.5-1.5 g SO3(2-) l(-1) d(-1)) with hydrogen as electron donor showed that high (up to 1.6 g l(-1)) H2S concentrations can be obtained within 10 days of operation. H2S inhibition, however, limited the sulfite reducing capacity of the CSTR. Methane production by the cell suspension disappeared within 20 days reactor operation. The outcompetition of methanogens in excess of H2 can be attributed to CO2 limitation and/or to sulfite or sulfide toxicity. The use of cell suspensions opens perspectives for monolith or packed bed reactor configurations, which have a much lower pressure drop compared to air lift reactors, to supply H2 to sulfite/sulfate reducing bioreactors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-240
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • thermophilic sulfate
  • anaerobic treatment
  • carbon source
  • waste-water
  • reactor
  • reduction
  • bacteria
  • energy
  • hydrogen
  • sulfide


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of sulfate reducing cell suspension bioreactors for the treatment of SO2 rich flue gases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this