Gas-liquid contacting is the basis for many chemical separation operations, including gas absorption (e.g., removing contaminates like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from a biogas), humidification and distillation. Many different types of contactors have been developed, recently, in the field of chemical engineering to achieve this type of contacting, depending on different contacting principles. The present work is focused, squarely, to achieve two main goals regarding these contacting methods. The first is reviewing, not exhaustive but critically, the most common conventional and non-conventional contactors. This includes packed bed, bubble, spray and plate columns as conventional contactors and the novel and innovative methods such as rotating spiral channel, falling-film microcontactors and others as non-conventional methods. The second goal is evaluating, quantitatively, the performance of non-conventional contactors and putting them into context with other conventional contacting methods. Two essential parameters are developed in this paper to assess mass-transfer performance of a contractor: mean processing time and purification factor, considering both physical absorption and desorption operations. Interestingly, the comparison results based on mass-transfer data reported in the relevant literature showed that some of the non-conventional contactors can allow a step improvement in mass transfer relative to the conventional contactors and offer solutions for some of inherent limitations of contacting fluid phases.

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