Odour removal from slaughterhouses

Smells emanating from slaughterhouses frequently lead to complaints from communities living nearby. The problem is often exacerbated by warmer weather in the spring or summer, when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may become more odorous and more people will be outdoors. As legislation around odour nuisance is becoming more stringent in many European countries, it is ever more important that companies take action to keep the atmosphere pleasant for their neighbours and workers alike. DESOTEC activated carbon filters are both highly efficient and sustainable in these contexts.

The Problem

A family-owned company in the Netherlands runs a slaughterhouse where pork is processed. It is a pioneer in sustainable and innovative techniques.

The site includes closed tanks where intestinal waste is stored before being converted into fertiliser or destroyed, with vents to release the gases from the decomposition process. There is also an on-site wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

A bioscrubber was in place to remove odours from air emissions, but this was proving insufficient.

As the factory is situated on the edge of an urban area, people living nearby complained both to the company and the environmental authorities about the odour nuisance. The company wanted to ensure good relations with its neighbours and retain its operational permit.

Odour nuisance is very subjective, making it hard to measure. The company therefore commissioned a specialist firm to carry out an odour study.

That firm conducted a detailed analysis and found the odours included ammonia, dihydrogen sulphide (H₂S), dimethyl sulphide (DMS) and mercaptans. It recommended DESOTEC’s activated carbon filtration solutions.

The Solution

We sent an engineer to check process parameters at the site, focusing on the storage tank. Based on those calculations, we recommended our smallest filter, the AIRCON 2000, which can handle the flow rate of 300 m³/h.

In terms of activated carbon type, we proposed using a shell-based one. This is microporous and better suited to adsorbing odours than the more frequently used mineral type of carbon.

Within five working days of receiving the go-ahead, we delivered and fitted the filter to treat gases from the storage tank.

The Results

The results have been excellent: the filter has removed 99% of the odorous molecules, thus satisfying the environmental authorities and those living near the site.

Furthermore, it requires only one filter exchange per year, which is carried out swiftly and simply with minimum disruption to operations at the site.

The client is so pleased that it has made the AIRCON 2000 a permanent solution to treat the venting gases at its site.

It has also now installed further AIRCON 2000 filters to treat odorous air emissions from the WWTP. Initially it installed three filters in series, but soon found that two were sufficient. Thanks to DESOTEC’s modular system, and the fact that filters are supplied on a monthly rental basis, it was simple to remove the extra filter when it proved unneeded.

DESOTEC filters are not only proven to be sufficient and easy to exchange, but are also sustainable thanks to our circular approach. All spent carbon is transported away from the site in closed filter units for treatment at our facilities in Belgium. There, it is analysed so it can be handled and recycled correctly.

All molecules that were adsorbed onto the carbon are desorbed inside our furnaces, then fully destroyed in accordance with national and European legislation by our incineration and neutralisation set-up. The carbon is then reactivated for customer re-use.

During this process, the installation and its emissions are monitored online, guaranteeing that only harmless water vapour is seen exiting the chimney.