The ‘pilot’: first line of defence against odour nuisance

It is obvious that industrial companies will think twice before commiting themselves to invest in a high-performance installation for air purification. They will require certain guarantees upfront that the chosen solution will provide satisfactory results. Desotec often proposes a pilot installation to meet the expectations associated with such challenges.

No conclusive guarantees with regards to the results can be given by any supplier at the start of a new project. A ‘pilot’ installation is therefore an ideal setup for both parties. This way not the whole air flow has to be treated at once, and various options and different types of activated carbon can be tested on a branched partial flow that usually varies between 100 and 1,000 m³/h. This accessible approach also allows project engineers to convince the management and/or board of directors of the relevance of a system based on the results of this pilot installation.

For completely new applications and large-scale projects we will most definitely propose a pilot installation. Customers also welcome this opportunity to make it clear to the environmental inspectorate that they are taking concrete steps for a well-considered approach to an air purification challenge.


Desotec offers two levels of pilot installations. A first and very simple approach is to install a drum of activated carbon to test whether actual deodorisation takes place. The customer himself can smell if there is actually a substantial difference between before and after. He is then automatically more inclined to upscale the installation. The second type is the combination of a 1 m³ activated carbon filter with frequency-controlled ventilation. This offers the possibility of proactively responding to contact times, being crucial in determining which and how many filters are ideally installed in the full scale installation.

Estimation of operating costs

As its name suggests; it is not the intention for a ‘pilot’ to be a permanent solution. You do indeed already know from day one if the installation works or not. It can, however, be useful to carry out a test procedure of one week to two or three months, until the activated carbon filter has reached saturation. Then, taking into account the consumption of activated carbon, the supplier has a realistic picture of the operating costs of any full scale installation.

Desotec also coordinates constant monitoring of the pilot: based on cooperation with carefully selected partners we take responsibility for carrying out and analysing the odour measurements. This allows us to select the right solutions with the greatest precision. For end clients a pilot installation is therefore the ideal intermediate stage for simply choosing the best-performing full scale installation for their air purification issue without financial risk.


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.