Treatment of wastewater contaminated with phenol by activated carbon adsorption.

Mobicon treating phenol

One of the basic organic raw materials used today is phenol. Together with its derivative compounds, it can be found in all sorts of different industries such as paint manufacturing, phenolic resins production, ferrous industry, paper and pulp factories, etc. The production facilities in these industries very often have to deal with the presence of phenol in their waste water flows. Being toxic to human beings, and having harmful effects on the environment, phenol emissions need to be adequately dealt with.

Different kinds of technologies have been proven to succeed in removing phenol, amongst others biological waste water treatment or chemical oxidation. Smaller amounts of wastewater are very often sent for external treatment (incineration), since most of these techniques require a rather complex installation and monitoring, together with capital investments.

A phenolic resin production facility has been struggling with a waste water stream, strongly varying in phenol concentrations and flow rate. These unpredictable fluctuations made it impossible to design a biological or chemical treatment installation, and lead to the choice of external incineration at a cost of approximately 100€/m³.

The contact was established to DESOTEC, whose engineers had a thorough look at the potential wastewater composition, historical analyses, potential range of fluctuations in flow rate & concentration, and the total yearly (estimated) amount to be treated. Based on this data, a robust activated carbon based purification solution was designed, existing of two MOBICON® 1000 mobile filter units in series.

The installation has been running successfully since the beginning of 2015, where upon saturation the first filter gets exchanged by a completely new unit, eliminating all need of local manipulation or installation down-time. The second polishing filter guarantees a 100% removal efficiency at any given point in time and further reduces the carbon consumption on a yearly basis. The saturated product is recycled at DESOTEC’s reactivation facilities, further decreasing the yearly operational costs. With this complete service package, DESOTEC was able to reduce the wastewater treatment cost by a factor 10 to only 10€/m³!