A novel medium consisting of iron oxide-coated porous ceramsite (modified ceramsite) was investigated for NO removal under thermophilic conditions in this study. We used a surface coating method with FeCl3
O as the modifier. When ceramsite was calcined for 4 h at 500 °C, the surface pH value decreased to 3.46, which is much lower than the isoelectric point of ceramsite, ensuring its surface was electropositive. The surface of modified ceramsite changed from two- to three-dimensional and exhibited excellent adsorption behavior to assist microbial growth; the maximum dry weight of the biofilm was 1.28 mg/g. It only took 8 days for the biofilter constructed from the modified ceramsite to start up, whereas that packed with commercial ceramsite took 22 days. The NO removal efficiency of the biofilter did not decrease apparently at high NO inlet concentration of above 1600 mg/m3
and maintained an average value of above 90% during the whole operation period. Additionally, the morphological observation showed that the loss of the surface coating was not obvious, and the coating properties remained stable during long-term operation. The maximum NO inlet loading of the biotrickling filter was 80 g/(m3
·h) with an average removal efficiency of 91.1% along with a quick start-up when using the modified ceramsite filler. Thus, modified ceramsite can be considered a very effective medium in biotrickling filters for NO removal.
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