Solving odour nuisance at a soap and detergent factory

French fragrance is renowned throughout the world – but its manufacture may cause issues closer to home. DESOTEC has the answers, with mobile and sustainable activated carbon filtration solutions to remove odorous VOCs from air emissions, restoring good relations with the local community.

The problem

This major fragrance company has a plant in northern France that specialises in producing scent for soaps and detergents.

The factory was originally designed to manufacture flavours. There was a scrubber in situ to treat air emissions, but as it was not needed, it was moved to another site.

However, after the loss of a key contract, the company reconfigured its factory to fulfil its new commission to produce fragrances.

This resulted in air emissions of odorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which began causing complaints from neighbours and negative publicity in the local media.

Eager to restore good community relations, the company started to search for a solution for its odour issues.

Having met the company previously at exhibitions and trade fairs, DESOTEC was invited for a site visit.

The solution

We discovered there was minimal space at the site, making our filters – which have a relatively small footprint – the optimal solution.

To demonstrate our filters’ effectiveness, we offered to install a pilot set-up using our smallest model, the Aircon 200.

This was installed in March 2021, and produced excellent results. Total VOCs were reduced from 30 mg/ m³ to below 5mg/ m³, and no odours could be detected.

The company decided to go ahead with a full-scale installation. We discussed several options before installing a purification system in October 2021.

This uses our larger six-tonne Aircon V model to handle a flow rate of approximately 12 500 m³/ h from the production hall. We also installed a demister to reduce humidity and prevent the filter from clogging up.

This filtration set-up is in operation approximately 100 hours per week, 50 weeks of the year, with no production at weekends.

The results

There have been no further odour complaints from neighbours. No filter exchanges were required in the first year of operation, making it a cost-effective and hassle-free solution.

The client is so pleased with our solution that it agreed to install a DESOTEC pilot filter at its second site. This facility already has both a scrubber and a biofilter in place, but the client wanted a polishing step to bring down odours to below detectable levels.

Again, the results were excellent, and the client is satisfied that activated carbon is a viable solution for this site. It has also identified two further sites for pilot tests in 2024 or 2025.

The client has been impressed by DESOTEC’s responsiveness and flexibility, as well as the compactness and effectiveness of our solutions.

It will shortly discover whether or not the spent carbon from its filter can be reactivated, which would bring costs down and increase sustainability.

When the carbon is saturated, we will exchange the filter in a swift and simple process that requires no production downtime. Our technicians will transport the old unit to our facilities, where we will analyse carbon samples.

All adsorbed molecules will be destroyed in our furnaces, and the carbon reactivated if possible. This process is continuously monitored, ensuring that only harmless water vapour exits our chimneys.