Modeling and Numerical Solution of the Fate of Multi-component Substrate in Porous Media

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Lagos, NIGERIA


A mathematical model was proposed to appropriately describe the fate of multicomponent substrates in porous media, especially soil. The model utilized appropriate biodegradation kinetic expressions that better describe the consumption or degradation rate of the substrate. The Equation, with the second and third type boundary conditions in non-dimensionalized form, was solved using the Finite Volume method and simulated in the Matlab environment. An experiment, using a 5 cm (inside diameter) x 60 cm (height) glass column packed with severally autoclaved soil spiked with 2 % substrate (a mixture of hexadecane, heneicosane, 1-methylnaphthalene, 2- methylnaphthalene, and 1, 3-dimethylnapthalene) and a consortium of organisms (Providential rettgeri, Streptococcus salivarius, Trichoderma harzianum, Aspergillus flavipes, and Candida famata) was set up to validate the model. The result showed that the model describes the fate of each component within the multicomponent substrate. It also indicates that both Peclet and Thiele numbers affect the biodegradation of the substrate. It was observed that a small Peclet number should be allowed for effective biodegradation of the substrate. The model was validated with data obtained for an experiment where a mixture of hydrocarbons was degraded with a mixed culture of microorganisms. The results of the experiment were well described by the model indicating that the model can be used to predict the compositions of components of a mixture during biodegradation.


Main Subjects

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