4 typical questions about odours

Odour nuisance is a complex issue. Over the last 30 years, DESOTEC engineers have worked with more than 1,000 companies on various odour issues. Drawing from these projects, we have summarized the four most common questions here.

What causes odours?

Odours can be caused by organic and inorganic compounds. Complaints often arise from compounds with a low odour threshold, such as H2S or styrene. Companies in waste management or manufacturers of fragrances, food products, and composite materials frequently face these issues.

What is the odour threshold and why is it important?

The odour threshold is the lowest concentration of a substance at which it can be detected by the human nose. This threshold varies for each compound. Additionally, odours are not controlled and regulated for every company. This means that these companies may comply with their emission limits but still cause odour problems. Understanding odour thresholds can help identify and treat potentially unpleasant air flows to prevent conflicts with neighbouring communities.

How can activated carbon help me with odour nuisances?

The solution to a specific case of odour nuisance largely depends on the odour-causing substances. Impregnated activated carbon is needed to treat inorganic compounds such as H2S or NH3. Odour problems caused by organic solvents can be addressed using standard types of activated carbon. The compounds are adsorbed on the activated carbon, thereby removing the odours.

What can I do if I don't know the cause of the odour?

If the composition of the exhaust air is unknown, measurements can be arranged through partners. Alternatively, a feasibility study can be conducted directly through a pilot plant. During the test, different types of activated carbon can be used separately or in different layers to find the best solution.