A Review of Methods for Reduction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Waste Water and Flue Gases


  • I. Semjonova Rezeknes Augstskola (Rezekne Higher Education Institution)
  • E. Teirumnieks Rezeknes Augstskola (Rezekne Higher Education Institution)




polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, wastewater, flue gas, reduction


This review describes methods which can be used for the reduction of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions from wastewater and flue gases including principles of operation of the methods and studies of their effectiveness. There are discussed both methods, which nowadays are already used industrially, and their improvement opportunities as well as recent technological trends in this field. The methods have been classified into two main categories: flue gas treatment and wastewater treatment.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

  • I. Semjonova, Rezeknes Augstskola (Rezekne Higher Education Institution)
    Faculty of Engineering
  • E. Teirumnieks, Rezeknes Augstskola (Rezekne Higher Education Institution)
    Faculty of Engineering


A. Aranda, M. V. Navarro, T. Garcia,, R. Murillo, A. M. Mastral,“Temperature swing adsorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on activated carbons,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., vol. 46, no. 24, pp. 8193–8198, October 2007.

A. G. Chmielewskia, A. Ostapczuka, Z. Zimeka, J. Lickib, K. Kubica, “Reduction of VOCs in flue gas from coal combustion by electron beam treatment,” Rad. Phys. Chem., vol. 63, pp. 653–655, March 2002.

A. G. Chmielewski, A. Pawelec, B. Tymiski, Z. Zimek, J. Licki, “Industrial applications of electron beam flue gas treatment,” in Emerging applications of radiation processing, 2004, pp. 153-161.

A. G. Chmielewskia, Y. X. Suna, J. Lickib, S. Bulkaa, K. Kubicac, Z. Zimek, “NOx and PAHs removal from industrial flue gas by using electron beam technology with alcohol addition,” Rad. Phys. Chem., vol. 67, pp. 555–560, June 2003.

A. Laitinen, K. Vaaraslahti, J. Keskinen, “Preformed Spray Scrubber-Comparison of Precipitation Mechanisms for Charged Fine Particles,” J. Aerosol Sci., vol. 31, pp. 158–159, 2000.

A. M. Mastral, M. S. Callen, “Review on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon emissions in energy generation,” Environ. Sci.Technol., vol. 15, pp. 3051-3057, July 1999.

A. M. Mastral, M. S. Callen, R. Murillo, T. Garcia, “Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and organic matter (OM) relationship in the particulate matter emitted from atmospheric bed coal combustion (AFBC),” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 33, no. 18, pp. 3177-3184, August 1999.

A. M. Mastral, M. S. Callen, R. Murillo, T. Garcia, “Toxic organic emissions from coal combustion,” Fuel Proc. Technol., vol. 67, pp 1-10, June 2000.

A. M. Mastral, T. Garcia, R. Murillo, M. S. Callen, J. M. Lуpez, M. V. Navarro, “Moisture effects on the phenanthrene adsorption capacity by carbonaceous materials,” Energy Fuel, vol. 16, pp. 205–210, November 2002.

A. M. Mastral, T. García, R. Murillo, M. S. Callén, J. M. López, M. V. Navarro, “Development of efficient adsorbent materials for PAH cleaning from AFBC hot gas,” Energy Fuels, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 202–208, 2004.

A. M. Mastral, T. Garcia, M. S. Callén, M. V. Navarro, J. Galbán, “Removal of Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, and Pyrene by Sorbents from Hot Gas,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 35, no. 11, pp. 2395– 2400, 2001.

A. M. Mastral, T. Garcia, M. S. Callén, R. Murillo, M. V. Navarro, J. M. Lopez, “Sorbent characteristics influence on the adsorption of PAC: I. PAH adsorption with the same number of rings,” F. Proc. Tech., vol. 77-78, pp. 373– 379, June 2002.

A. M. Mastral, T. Garcia, R. Murillo, S. Callen, J. M. Lopez, M. V. Navarro,“PAH mixture removal from hot gas by porous carbons. From model compounds to real conditions,” Indust. Eng. Chem. Res., vol 42, no. 21, pp. 5280-5286, 2003.

A. M. Mastral, T. Garcia, M. S. Callén, J. M. Lopez, M. V. Navarro, R. Murillo, J. Galbán, “Three-ring PAH removal from waste hot gas by sorbents: Influence of the sorbent characteristics,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 1821– 1826, March 2002.

A. Ostapczuka, J. Lickib, A. G. Chmielewski, “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in coal combustion flue gas under electron beam irradiation,” Rad. Phys. Chem., vol. 77, pp. 490–496, April 2008.

A. Wenzel, A. Gahr, R. Niessner, “TOC-removal and degradation of pollutants in leachate using a thin-film photoreactor,” Water Research, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 937–946, March 1999.

B. Chena, M. Yuana, H. Liua, “Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from aqueous solution using plant residue materials as a biosorbent,” J. Haz. Mat., vol. 188, pp. 436-442, February 2011.

B. Chen, Y. Wang, D. Hu, “Biosorption and biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in aqueous solutions by a consortium of white-rot fungi,” J. Hazard. Mater., vol. 179, pp. 845–851, July 2010.

C. Feng-Yim, C. Jyh-Cherng, W. Ming-Yen, “The activity of Rh/Al2O3 and Rh–Na/Al2O3 catalysts for PAHs removal in the waste incineration processes: Effects of particulates, heavy metals, and acid gases,” Fuel, vol. 88, pp. 1563–1571, September 2009.

C. H. Wang, S. S. Lin, C. L. Chen, H. S. Weng, “Performance of the supported copper oxide catalysts for the catalytic incinerationof aromatic hydrocarbons,” Chemosphere, vol. 64, pp. 503–509, June 2006.

C. Valderrama, X. Gamisans, J. L. Cortina, A. Farran, F. X. de las Heras, “Evaluation of polyaromatic hydrocarbon removal from aqueous solutions using activated carbon and hyper-crosslinked polymer (Macronet MN200),” J. Chem Tech. Biotech., vol 84, no. 2, pp. 236-245, February 2009.

C. Valderrama, X. Gamisans, F. X. de las Heras, J. L. Cortina, A. Farraґn, “Kinetics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons removal using hyper-cross-linked polymeric sorbents Macronet Hypersol MN200,” React. Func. Polym., vol. 67, no. 12, pp. 1515–1529, December 2007.

D. Lin, B. Pan, L. Zhu, B. Xing, “Characterization and phenanthrene sorption of tea leaf powders,” J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 55, pp. 5718–5724, 2007.

D. S. Chaudhary, S. Vigneswaran, H. H. Ngo, W. G. Shim, H. Moon, “Biofilter in water and wastewater treatment,” Korean J. Chem. Eng., vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 1054-1065, November 2003.

E. Manoli, C. Samara, “Occurrence and mass balance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Thessaloniki sewage treatment plant,” J. of Environ. Qual., vol. 28, pp. 176–187, 1999.

E. Ntainjua, N. A. F. Carley, S. H. Taylor, “The role of support on the performance of platinum-based catalysts for the total oxidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” Catal. Today, vol. 137, pp. 362–366, September 2008.

E. Ntainjua, N. T. Garcia, S. H. Taylor, “Naphthalene oxidation over vanadiummodified Pt catalysts supported on γ - Al2O3,” Catal. Lett., vol. 110, pp. 125–128, August 2006.

F. J. Beltran, G. Ovejero, J. F. Rivas, “Oxidation of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in water.3. UV radiation combined with hydrogen peroxide,” Indust. Eng. Chem. Res., vol. 35, pp. 883- 890, 1996.

F. J. Beltran, G. Ovejero, J. Rivas, “Oxidation of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in water.4. Ozone combined with hydrogen peroxide,” Indust. Eng. Chem. Res., vol. 35, pp. 891-898, 1996.

F. J. Beltran, J. F. Rivas, O. Gimeno, M. Carbajo, “Photocatalytic enhanced oxidation of fluorene in water with ozone. Comparison with other chemical oxidation methods,” Indust. Eng. Chem. Res., vol. 44, pp. 3419-3425, 2005.

F. J. Beltran, M. Gonzalez, J. F. Rivas, P. Alvarez, “Fenton reagent advanced oxidation of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in water,” Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol. 105, pp. 685-700, 1998. [32] H. D. Ryu, D. Kim, H. E. Lim, S. I. Lee, “Nitrogen removal from low carbon-to-nitrogen wastewater in four-stage biological aerated filter system,” Proc. Bioch., vol. 43, pp. 729–735, July 2008.

H. H.Yanga, R. C. Junga, Y. F. Wangb, L. T. Hsiehc, “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions from joss paper furnaces,” Atm. Envir., vol. 39, pp. 3305-3312, 2005.

H. Melcer, P. Steel, W. K. Bedford, “Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic nitrogen compounds in a municipal treatment plant,” Water Environ. Res., vol. 67, pp. 926- 934, 1995.

H. Wenzel, H. F. Larsen, J. Clauson-Kaas, L. Hoibye, B. N. Jacobsen, B.N., (2008) “Weighing environmental advantages and disadvantages of advanced wastewater treatment of micropollutants using environmental life cycle assessment,” Water Sci. Technol., vol. 57, pp. 27-32, 2008.

I. Grčic, M. Maljkovic, S. Papic, N. Koprivanac, “Low frequency US and UV-A assisted Fenton oxidation of simulated dyehouse wastewater,” J. Haz. Mat., vol. 197, pp. 272– 284, December 2011.

J. F. Clausson-Kaas, F. Dahl, F., Dalgaard, L. Hoibye, J. Kjolholt, H. Wenzel, H. F. Larsen, “Advanced treatment of urban wastewater,” COWI, May 2006.

J. H. Lehr, Wiley's remediation technologies handbook: major contaminant chemicals and chemical groups. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.

J. J. Cudahy, R. W. Helsel, “Removal of products of incomplete combustion with carbon,” Waste Manage, vol. 20, pp. 339–45, October 2000.

J. Lester, D. Edge, “Sewage and Sewage Sludge Treatment,” in Pollution – Causes, Effects and Control, 4th edition, Ed. R.M. Harrison: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2001.

J. L. Shie, C. Y. Chang, J. H. Chen, W. T. Tsai, Y. H. Chen, C. S. Chiou, C. F. Chang, “Catalytic oxidation of naphthalene using a Pt/Al2O3 catalyst,” Appl. Catal. B: Environ. vol. 58, pp. 289–297, June 2005.

J. P. Forgac, „Continuous clean bag filter apparathus and method,” U. S. Patent 4,411,674, October 25, 1983.

J. Zucker, “Electrostatic precipitator and method,” U. S. Patent 3,984,215, October 5, 1976.

K. J. Martin, R. Nerenberg, “The membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) for water and wastewater treatment: Principles, applications, and recent developments,” Biores. Tech., vol. 122, pp. 83-94, October 2012.

L. Chiou-Liang, C. Yu-Hsiang, L. Zhen-Shu, C.Jian-Yuan, “Metal catalysts supported on activated carbon fibers for removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from incineration flue gas,” J. Haz. Mat., vol. 197, pp. 254– 263, December 2011.

L. Huang, T. B. Boving, B. Xing, “Sorption of PAHs by aspen wood fibers as affected by chemical alterations,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 40, pp. 3279–3284, 2006.

L. Mendoza-Espinosa, T. Stephenson, “A review of biological aerated filters for wastewater treatment,” Environ. Eng. Sci., vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 201–216, 1999.

L. Sánchez, J. Peral, X. Domènech, “Aniline degradation by combined photocatalysis and ozonation,” Appl. Catal., vol 19, no.1, pp. 59-65, October 1998.

M. A. Engwall, J. J. Pignatello, D. Grasso, “Degradation and detoxification of the wood preservatives creosote and pentachlorophenol in water by the photo-Fenton reaction,” WaterResearch, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 1151-1158, April 1999.

M. A. Olivella, P. J. Oliveras, A. Oliveras, “The use of cork waste as a biosorbent for persistent organic pollutants–Study of adsorption/desorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” J. Environ. Sci. Health, vol.46, no. 8, pp. 824-832, May 2011.

M. F. Dehne, „Cyclone separator,” U. S. Patent 300,859, April 9, 1974.

M. H. Yuana, C. Y. Changa, J. L. Shieb, C. C. Changa, J. H. Chena, W. T. Tsaic, “Destruction of naphthalene via ozonecatalyticoxidation process over Pt/Al2O3 catalyst,” J. Haz. Mat., vol. 175, pp. 809–815, March 2010.

M. J. Salloum, B. Chefetz, P. G. Hatcher, “Phenanthrene sorption by aliphatic-rich natural organic matter,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 36, pp. 1953–1958, 2002.

M. K. Chung, M. T. K. Tsui, K. C. Cheung, N. F. Y. Tam, M. H. Wong, “Removal of aqueous phenanthrene by brown seaweed Sargassum hemiphyllum: sorption-kinetic and equilibrium studies,” Sep. Purif. Technol., vol. 54, pp. 355–362, May 2007.

M. Molina-Muсoz, J. M. Poyatos, M. M. Sanchez-Peinado, E. Hontoria, J. Gonzalez-Lуpez, B. Rodelas, “Microbial community structure and dynamics in a pilot-scale submerged membrane bioreactor aerobically treating domestic wastewater under real operation conditions,” Sci. Total Environ., vol. 407, no. 13, pp. 3994–4003, June 2009.

M. M. Zein, P. X. Pinto, S. Garcia-Blanco, M. T. Suidan, A. D. Venosa, “Treatment of groundwater contaminated with PAHs, gasoline hydrocarbons, and methyl tert-butyl ether in a laboratory biomass-retaining bioreactor,” Biodegradation (2006), vol. 17, pp. 57–69, February 2006.

M. Pena, M. Coca, G. Gonzalez, R. Rioja, M. T. Garcia, “Chemical oxidation of wastewater from molasses fermentation with ozone,” Chemos., vol. 51, pp. 893–900, June 2003.

M. R. Morales, B. P. Barbero, L. E. Cadus, “Combustion of volatile organic compounds on manganese iron or nickel mixed oxide catalysts,” Appl. Catal. B: Environ., vol. 74, pp. 1-10, June 2007.

M. S. Callén, M. T. de la Cruz, S. Marinov, A. M. Mastral, R. Murillo, M. Stefanova, “Hot gas cleaning in power stations by using electron beam technology. Influence on PAH emissions,” Fuel Processing Technology, vol. 88, pp. 273–280, March 2007.

M. S. Callén, M. T. de la Cruz, S. Marinov, R. Murillo, M. Stefanova, A. M. Mastral, “Flue gas cleaning in power stations byusing electron beam technology. Influence on PAH emissions,” F. Proc. Tech., vol. 88, pp. 251–258, March 2007.

M. S. Elovitz, U. von Gunten, “Hydroxyl radical/ozone ratios during ozonation processes. I. The Rct concept. Ozone Association,” Sci. and Eng., vol. 21. no 3, pp. 239–260, 1999.

M. Wlodarczyk-Makula, “The loads of PAHs in wastewater and sewage sludge of municipal treatment plant,” Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, vol. 25, pp. 183-194, 2005.

N. Christensen, D. J. Batstone, Z. He, I. Angelidaki, J. E. Schmidt, “Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from sewage sludge by anaerobic degradation,” Water Sci. Technol., vol. 50, pp. 237-244, 2004.

P. A. Bergqvist, L. Augulyte, V. Jurjoniene, “PAH and PCB removal efficiencies in Umea (Sweden) and Siauliai (Lithuania) municipal wastewater treatment plants,” Water Air and Soil Pollution, vol. 175, pp. 291-303, March 2006.

P. Gelin, M. Primet, “Complete oxidation of methane at low temperature over noble metal based catalysts: a review,”Appl. Catal. B: Environ., vol. 39, pp. 1-37, March 2002.

P. K. A. Hong., D. A. Wavrek, J. C. Chao,Y. Zeng, “Degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to render them available for biodegradation.” USPTO Patent Application 20080242875, March 24, 2008.

R. F. Hickey, A. Sunday, D. Wagner, V. Groshko, R. V. Rajan, A. Leuschner, T. D. Hayes, Treatment of PAHs in waters using the GAC-FBR process. Third international in situ and onsite Bioreclamation Symposium, April 24-27, 1995, San Diego, CA (U.S.): Battelle Press, 1996.

R. S. Ramalho, Introduction to Wastewater Treatment Processes. London: Academic Press, 1977.

R. Venkatandri, W. R. Peters, “Chemical oxidation technologies: ultraviolet light/hydrogen peroxide, Fenton’s reagent, and titaniumdioxide-as sisted photocatalysis,” Haz. Waste Haz. Mater, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 107–149, 1993.

S. C. Kim, “The catalytic oxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons over supported metal oxide,” J. Hazard. Mater., vol. 91, pp. 285–299, April 2002.

S. Gomes de Moraes, R.S. Freire, N. Durán,“Degradation and toxicity reduction of textile effluent by combined photocatalytic and ozonation processes,” Chemos., vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 369-373, February 2000.

S. Ledakowicz, J. S. Miller, D. Olejnik, “Oxidation of PAHs in water solution by ozone combined with ultraviolet radiation,” Intern. J. Photoen., vol. 3, pp. 95-101, 2001.

S. R. Cowley, B.S. McCoy, “Wet scrubber apparatus,” U. S. Patent 5,178,654, January 12, 1993.

S. Schlegel, H. Koeser, (2007) “Wastewater treatment with submerged fixed bed biofilm reactor systems - design rules, operating experiences and ongoing developments,” Water Sci. Technol., vol. 55, pp. 83-89, 2007.

T. Hayes, D. Arthur, “Overview of emerging produced water treatment technologies,” presented at 11th Annual International Petroleum Environmental Conference, Albuquerque, NM, October 12-15, 2004.

W. J. Lee, M. C. Liow, P. J. Tsai, L. T. Hsieh, “Emission of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from medical waste incinerators,” Atm. Envir., vol. 36, pp. 781-790, 2002.

W. J. Lee, W. H. Chao, M. Shih, C. H. Tsai, T. J. H. Chen, P. J. Tsai, “Emissions of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Batch Hot Mix Asphalt Plants,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 38, no. 20, pp 5274–5280, September 2004.

X. Tang, Y. Zhou, Y. Xu, Q. Zhao, X. Zhou, J. Lu, “Sorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from aqueous solution by hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide modified fibric peat,” J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol., vol. 85, pp. 1084–1091, 2010.

X. W. Zhang, S. C. Shen, L. E. Yu, S. Kawi, K. Hidajat, K. Y. S. Ng, “Oxidative decomposition of naphthalene by supported metal catalysts,” Appl. Catal. A: Gen., vol. 250, pp. 341–352, June 2003.

Y. F. Zhang, C. He, Q. Xu, J. S. Chen, “Oxidation characteristics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in flue gas over Pd/ γ -Al2O3 catalyst,” J. Fuel Chem. Technol., vol. 39, no. 7, pp. 543-549, July 2011.

Y. J. An, e. R. Carraway, “PAH degradation by UV/H2O2 in perfluorinated surfactant solutions,” Water Research., vol. 36, pp. 309-314, January 2002.[82] Y. Li, B. Chen, “Phenanthrene sorption by fruit cuticles and potato periderm with different compositional characteristics,” J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 57, pp. 637–644, 2009.

Y. Li, B. Chen, L. Zhu, “Enhanced sorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from aqueous solution by modified pine bark,” Bioresour. Technol. vol. 101, pp. 7307–7313, 2010.

Y. Zhu, S. Zhang, Y. Zhu, P. Christie, X. X. Shan, “Improved approaches for modeling the sorption of phenanthrene by a range

of plant species,” Environ. Sci. Technol., vol. 41, pp. 7818–7823, 2007.

United States Anvironmental Protection Agency, “Pollution Prevention Guidance Manual for the PFPR Industry.” [Online]. Available: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/ guide/pesticides /upload/1998_05_26_guide_p2_pdf_ch5.pdf. [Accessed: Feb. 4, 2013]




How to Cite

I. Semjonova and E. Teirumnieks, “A Review of Methods for Reduction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Waste Water and Flue Gases”, ETR, vol. 1, pp. 57–65, Aug. 2015, doi: 10.17770/etr2013vol1.825.