Even styrene doesn’t have to stink…

Aircon V-XL

Styrene is a useful raw material used for numerous applications. The very low odour threshold of this compound soon causes a highly pungent and unpleasant odour. Even if the emission of such volatile organic compounds satisfies the strict European regulations, complete removal of such compounds according to the best available techniques is absolutely recommended. AIRCON, the mobile filter installation with activated carbon from Desotec, meets all the conditions for the effective elimination of styrene emissions.

Styrene is essential in the industrial processes at polyester-processing or composite-producing companies. The compound is important for reasons such as the manufacture of horse boxes, motor yachts, surfboards, bathroom furniture, parts of wind turbines, and also for certain sewer renovation techniques.

Odour nuisance

The emission of styrene and other VOCs (volatile organic components) is subject to strict European standards. Even if a company complies with all the specific directives, there is still the chance that odour nuisance will occur. This certainly applies in the case of styrene, that already causes odour nuisance at a concentration of 20,000 times lower than the lowest harmful concentration.

Styrene emissions can be tackled in various ways, for example by RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser) or the use of a concentrator. Here, styrene is first concentrated in an adsorbent (such as zeolites or activated carbon), to then have it oxidise in an energy efficient manner in an incinerator.

The BAT (Best Available Techniques), described in the IED (Industrial Emissions Directive) for the complete removal of styrene from air flows, refer to adsorption on activated carbon. Desotec uses this technique with its mobile filter solution. This approach is possible in a start/stop mode and quickly processes variations in crucial process parameters such as flow rates and concentrations. This even allows the purification of very low styrene concentrations so the environment is no longer effected by the odour.

Mobile activated carbon filter

Desotec recently used this technique at a producer of polyester sand filters for swimming pools. Emissions at two emission points at this company were purified by the mobile AIRCON-VL activated carbon filter. The air flow was first sent over a dust filter, so the glass fibre particles were already caught at this stage and could not clog the carbon filter.


At DESOTEC’s facilities, all used carbon is analysed so the right measures can be taken for handling and removing the saturated carbon out of the mobile filters. All molecules that were adsorbed on the activated carbon at the customers’ site, are desorbed inside DESOTEC’s reactivation furnaces. These contaminants are then fully destroyed, in accordance with National and European legislationby an incineration and neutralisation setup. The entire installation and it's emissions are under continuous on-line monitoring, which guarantees that only harmless water vapour is seen exiting the chimney.