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Dispersion of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Emissions from a Biofilter at an Electronic Manufacturing Facility

Azlah, Nada
Shareefdeen, Zarook
Elkamel, Ali
Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing industries, known as PCB facilities, emit odorous and toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Such compounds not only harm the health but also create a nuisance environment for people who live in the neighborhood of PCB facilities. Biofilter technology which is based on the bio‐oxidation of pollutants has been used by many industries to remove odorous VOCs. When the removal efficiency drops due to a design or operational deficiency, odorous VOCs are released from the biofilter and this becomes evident by the increased odor complaints. Poor biofilter performance, geographical location of the facility, and meteorological conditions contribute to increased dispersion of VOCs. This research investigates dispersion of a VOC pollutant known as propylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate (PGMEA) which is released from a commercial biofilter unit installed at a PCB facility in Ontario, Canada. A Gaussian dispersion model and California puff model (CALPUFF) were used to examine the dispersion effects due to changes in wind speed, wind direction, temperature, mixing height, atmospheric stability classes as well as biofilter performance. Simulations were done for the three modeling periods (January, May, September) to account for seasonal effects on PGEMEA dispersion and predictions from both models are compared. The contour hourly wind and concentration plots confirm that the seasonal changes have a direct impact on the PGMEA concentration and plume path. The results presented under variable meteorological conditions show that the average daily concentration of PGMEA is the highest in the month of September. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 36: 1100–1107, 2017