Electronic nose to aid water treatment odour control

The science of smell is set to enhance strategies to minimise odour pollution from waste and wastewater facilities, thanks to the development of what is being called a pioneering industrial-standard 'electronic nose'.

The science of smell is set to enhance strategies to minimise odour pollution from waste and wastewater facilities, thanks to the development of what is being called a pioneering industrial-standard 'electronic nose'.

Available in the UK for the first time, the technology can be used to help improve the control of odours associated with industries such as waste storage and recovery, sewage treatment and composting. By sensing odours and raising an alert before they cause human discomfort, the equipment can trigger activity to reduce nuisance odours at an early stage.

Distributed by air quality and emissions monitoring specialist Enviro Technology, the RQ Box electronic nose was developed by French company Alpha MOS – a human sense digitisation systems supplier. It mimics human olfaction to detect levels of odour and pollutant gases in the air.

Enviro Technology said: "It has traditionally been difficult to 'measure' odours, but with the RQ Box, it is possible to create an objective profile of odour levels. This enables better policing and management of odour pollution, for authorities and organisations responsible for the odours alike."

Designed to monitor one or more industrial sites, the technology generates real-time information for efficient management of odour and chemical pollution. It provides 24/7 measurement of odour in 'odour units' (EN 13725 and ASTM E679) and of pollutant gases in ppm (H2S, NH3, mercaptans, VOCs). This information can be presented via 3D maps of dispersion plumes showing concentration levels.

Analysis of this data can form a vital part of strategies to combat odour pollution. And the RQ Box itself can stimulate tactical responses, from activation of warning alarms and air treatment facilities or adjusting the use of odour-neutralising additives.

For instance, there are cases where landfill sites have generated unacceptable levels of odour at periodic intervals due to prevailing meteorological conditions. The RQ Box has been designed to pinpoint conditions that lead to these problems, prompting timely remedial action – such as operating a spray system to neutralise odours.

The company said that the benefits of enhancing measurement – and therefore management – of odour pollution are manifold. Building a better understanding of the factors that lead to odour problems enables processes to be optimised to reduce the risk of nuisance odours. This facilitates intelligence-led decision making and a 'continuous improvement' approach to odour management.

www.et.co.uk

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