Treatment of phenols in a wide range of industrial wastewater
Phenols exist in a wide variety of industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, oil & gas production, life-science, food packaging, foodstuff and multiple process industries. They are also common aroma additives in a large number of beverages. Their versatile properties and active functions have made them one of the most common industrially applied class of compounds in the world. However, due the highly potent characteristics, their properties also make them subject to scrutiny and restrictions are accelerating pertaining to the release into and concentrations in the environment. The US EPA restricts phenols to 5 ppm if released into the sewage network and less than 1 ppm if released into inland waters. Some phenol compounds are considered hazardous and their human exposure limits can be found in both ppm and ppb levels. Luckily, phenolic pollutants can be managed and phenol based contaminants in industrial wastewaters can be completely eliminated – if done right.
Paracetamol is one the most common phenolic pain killers used daily by millions of humans every day globally. It can be identified as a phenol from the hydroxy group with an aromatic ring.
Bisphenol-A. One of the most prolifically manufactured phenol compounds, found in food packaging and plastic bottles. Bisphenol-A can therefore be detected in nanogram to microgram levels in municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Di-methyl-phenol (DMP) or Xylenol. Common by-product in petrochemical production in the oil & gas industry.
Tri-methyl-phenol. Used in electronics manufacturing such as circuits boards, automobile industry and television parts.
Did you know...
…that the global production of phenol was more than 11 million tonnes in 2022 and that a large fraction of that will end up in the environment?
…that the production of phenol is projected to increase by 23% by the year 2030?
…that phenol is used to make nylon clothing?
…that phenol is a key ingredient to extracting DNA at forensic laboratories?
…that luckily Mellifiq can design a solution which will eliminate more than 99% of phenolic compounds before they are released into our air and waters?
Advanced oxidation augments the phenol removal rates
As with most process-designs to solve challenging effluent streams, a multi-stage solution is preferred. One such solution is Advanced Oxidation (AOP), in which an oxidation system can be enhanced to further improve the reaction rates and lower the phenol effluent levels further. An AOP may utilize an Ozonetech ozone system combined with Saniray Zeeron UV systems or chemical dosing to produce hydroxyl radicals. Alternatively, Ozonetech RENA Vitro AOP systems with catalytic media can be applied.
Adsorption to capture phenols
Depending on the general characteristics of the effluent water containing phenolic compounds, adsorption with Mellifiq’s WaterMaid FlexKarb-C systems may be a straight-forward option to remove the bulk concentrations. It should be emphasized that the removal levels are strongly dependent linear flow velocities and retention times applied. Mellifiq wants to be the go-to partner in the optimal design of such system, employing a careful consideration to the local conditions the types of phenolic compound to be targeted. We will always tailor a solution with specific adsorption media to optimize the results. Ultimately, the use of a customer-oriented reciprical methods to recommend multi-stage solutions versus single-technology approaches.
Overview of viable treatment technologies and process Mellifiq provides to achieve a reliable phenol removal process.
|Treatment method||Advantages||Challenges||Operational considerations|
|Ozonation||Effective degradation of covalent bonds which provides near zero phenol reduction||Requires tailored engineering design to adapt effluent concentrations and general water quality to full scale solution||Energy consumption approximately 0.3 kWh per treated cubic meter wastewater at 90-95% phenol removal|
|Ozone AOP||Elevates treatment results to near 100% removal with complete phenol oxidation||Additional processes to enhance the ozonation process||Adds around 50% of operational costs to single oxidation technology appraoch|
|Adsorption||Offers a straightforward solution with low energy consumption with at least 80% removal levels||May require frequent maintenance and media exchange||Requires special consideration to phenol type|