ERDC's Kim receives USACE, ERDC Researcher of the Year Awards. Dr. Byung J. Kim, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's (ERDC) Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, Ill., has received both Corps' and ERDC Researcher of the Year Awards for his design and development of an innovative biofilter that destroys hazardous air emissions.
Hazardous air emissions, containing numerous hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), are created through industrial processes at Army installations. These HAPs are generally removed by activated carbon, which produces new pollutants in the form of spent carbon. The biofilter is a cost-effective alternative treatment that converts HAPs into benign carbon dioxide and water.
Kim's innovative Rotating Drum Biofilter is the "first mechanized design in the world" and has introduced major improvements to the existing biofilter design. The new device distributes air pollutants, oxygen, nutrients, and moisture evenly to a biological film, which prevents clogging, and frequent shut-downs of the biofilter. Kim's design also uses polyurethane foam that has natural friction with water - a property that reduces clogging and prolongs reliability.
The Rotating Drum Biofilter is currently being fielded at Fort Hood, Texas. The system's efficiency is being demonstrated as it treats the toxic air streams generated by paint booths during aircraft wing refurbishment. Kim states, "the next step is to commercialize [the biofilter] for odor control and volatile organic compounds," and he is currently working with the private sector to do so.
Installations such as Army ammunition plants, Army depots, and Army arsenals can greatly benefit from the efficiency of treatment, low operation costs, and reliability of this new air treatment biofilter. These benefits previously were demonstrated at the Iowa Ammunition Plant.