Pilot-scale Treatment Study of MTBE and Alternative Fuel Oxygenates


Most studies involving MTBE to date have focused on either pilot testing of individual processes, or comparison of processes using theoretical design parameters. The purpose of this study was to characterize the design parameters (e.g. KLa's, EE/O's, and carbon utilization rates) for each process in groundwaters using pilot-scale testing for four different groundwaters (low- and high-alkalinity, low- and high-organic carbon concentrations), and then to use these parameters to estimate the associated treatment costs. The unit operations examined were mounted in a mobile water treatment plant and included: packed tower air stripping; activated carbon adsorption using Calgon F400 and Calgon F600 in a rapid-small scale column test (RSSCT); and advanced oxidation via peroxide/UV and peroxide/ozone. Because of the difficulty of treating MTBE, there is a fundamental question as to whether other fuel oxygenates might be a better choice as a gasoline additive if their treatment in groundwater were significantly more efficient and less costly. To this end, this research compared the treatment of MTBE versus diisopropyl ether, ethyl tert-butyl ether, tert-amyl methyl ether, tert-butanol, and ethanol for each treatment process. The results of this ongoing study show that treatment efficiency and costs are a strong function of water quality and operating conditions.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

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Article - Conference proceedings

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Publication Date

01 Dec 2002

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