Adsorption and electrothermal desorption of hazardous organic vapors

P. D. Sullivan, Mark J Rood, K. J. Hay, S. Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1997, 6.04 x 108 kg of hazardous air pollutants were emitted into the atmosphere from the United States. A bench-scale activated-carbon fiber-cloth adsorption, electrothermal desorption, and condensation system was designed, built, and operated to demonstrate its ability to capture and recover organic hazardous air pollutants from airstreams. The annular-cartridge configuration of the activated-carbon fiber cloth allows low pressure drop and rapid electrothermal regeneration. Adsorption and electrothermal desorption cycling of the system with an airstream containing 1,000 ppmv methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) resulted in closure within 8% by mass. Competitive adsorption between water vapor and MEK reduced MEK adsorption capacity 43% as relative humidity of the gas increased from 4 to 90% at 22°C dry-bulb temperature. Increasing the dry-bulb temperature of the gas stream by 10°C at a constant dew-point temperature resulted in a 37% increase in MEK adsorption compared to the high relative humidity test case, while allowing the water vapor to penetrate the adsorber. The automated system achieves MEK capture efficiency > 99.9% by mass while recovering the liquid MEK for reuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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