Emergence and Fate of Siloxanes in Waste Streams: Release Mechanisms, Partitioning and Persistence in Three Environmental Compartments Dissertation

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Surita, Sharon C

abstract

  • Siloxanes are widely used in personal care and industrial products due to their low surface tension, thermal stability, antimicrobial and hydrophobic properties, among other characteristics. Volatile methyl siloxanes (VMS) have been detected both in landfill gas and biogas from anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants. As a result, they are released to gas phase during waste decomposition and wastewater treatment. During transformation processes of digester or landfill gas to energy, siloxanes are converted to silicon oxides, leaving abrasive deposits on engine components. These deposits cause increased maintenance costs and in some cases complete engine overhauls become necessary.

    The objectives of this study were to compare the VMS types and levels present in biogas generated in the anaerobic digesters and landfills and evaluate the energetics of siloxane transformations under anaerobic conditions. Siloxane emissions, resulting from disposal of silicone-based materials, are expected to increase by 29% within the next 10 years. Estimated concentrations and the risk factors of exposure to siloxanes were evaluated based on the initial concentrations, partitioning characteristics and persistence. It was determined that D4 has the highest risk factor associated to bioaccumulation in liquid and solid phase, whereas D5 was highest in gas phase. Additionally, as siloxanes are combusted, the particle size range causes them to be potentially hazardous to human health. When inhaled, they may affix onto the alveoli of the lungs and may lead to development of silicosis. Siloxane-based COD-loading was evaluated and determined to be an insignificant factor concerning COD limits in wastewater.

    Removal of siloxane compounds is recommended prior to land application of biosolids or combustion of biogas. A comparison of estimated costs was made between maintenance practices for removal of siloxane deposits and installation/operation of fixed-bed carbon absorption systems. In the majority of cases, the installation of fixed-bed adsorption systems would not be a feasible option for the sole purpose of siloxane removal. However they may be utilized to remove additional compounds simultaneously.

publication date

  • March 23, 2015

keywords

  • biogas
  • combustion
  • landfill gas
  • partitioning
  • persistence
  • siloxane

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)