Odoremissions: Regulation, measurement and reduction

posted Jun 12, 2015, 9:12 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 15, 2015, 11:22 PM ]
Yesterday Safepark attended a half day seminar on regulation, measurement and reduction of odoremissions. The seminar was arranged by a Interest Group for Analysis of Gases (IGAS) and the chemical engineering section of IDA, the Danish Society of Engineers.The seminar was to start with an update on the ongoing revision of the Danish regulation of the area, but due to an ongoing national election, the employee form the Danish EPA could say nothing about the coming revision of the Danish regulation. However, reading between the lines we came away with a clear message, that one focus area for the revision of the regulation will be a movement towards the international standards in area such as measurement units, time for averaging etc. The best current outlook is, that a new standard will be finished towards the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
The second presentation was about the measurement of odor or smell. We came away with a clear impression, that this is more an art than a science.Limits of smell are set by a panel of smellers being exposed to air with increasing concentrations of the fowl substance and/or mixture. Beside the revision of the Danish regulation a revision of the European CEN  regulation is also ongoing for more than two years. Problems being addressed in this revision is variation within a panel, variation between different panels, and variation between different laboratories. Anders Feilberg from the Engineering Department at Aarhus University have an answer to the use of panels: use modern equipment to measure individual substances. He showed that from the measurement of individual substances he was able to calculate a measure, which correlated well with panel measurements. At least one group at Aarhus University in Denmark is attempting to replace the old olfractometer with modern scientific measurements. Your can read more about Anders Feilbergs research here.
Infuser is a start-up company based on work at University of Copenhagen.Thomas Rosenørn talked about their design custom systems for removal of odor problems. Schematic of their idea is shown here. Basically they use OH-radicals to convert the substances creating the odor problem to other substances or particles without this problem. They use a modular process design, which is easily adapted to different volumes of gas and gas compositions.

SKOV is another Danish company focusing on the removal of odors. Their main area of interest is pig farms,and 85% of their annual turnaround of ½ billion Danish kroner is export. Lise Borne Guldberg talked about their bio-filters. Their Farm Air Clean BIOFlex 2-stage system is using paper pulp filters, and has been verified to removed more than 90% of 11 identified substances from the air in pig barns.

Finally two employees from the Municipality of Roskilde talked about odor problems from a restaurant in the center of Roskilde, which started operation in 2012. Shortly after people in nearby apartments complained about odor problems. The challenge for the municipal employees was, that they are not experts on odors or any other area for that mater. They handle citizens complains by entering into a dialog with the company. Measurements showed, that the odor level at the a nearby patio was more than 1000 units, while the regulation calls for a level of  5 units. A active carbon filter was eventually installed and it reduced the odor to 44 units. This resulted in fewer complains from citizens living in the nearby apartments. However the municipality insisted the odor level be reduced further, Adding additional active carbon resulted in a reduction to 7 units. The municipality luckily decided that 7 units was close enough to 5 units to close the case. Unfortunately the municipal employees did not know, that an odor level of 5 units could mean the measurement could be anywhere from 2 units to 11 units.

Certainly it appears that further research and development in the area of electronic noses is needed in order to create better justice for all involved parties: regulators, companies and citizens. 

Safepark have no activities in the area of odor management, but would be happy to put you in contract with either Infuser or SKOV. However, we encourage you to contact them directly using the website links provided in this article.