Odors from industrial facilities are a mixture of a large list of simple and complex volatile, organic and inorganic compounds that produce a physiological response in the pituitary gland since, even at trace level concentrations, most VOCs are malodorous and have very low odor thresholds. Odor can be measured by dynamic olfactometry while the inventory of the compounds of gas samples must be identified and quantified with instrumental techniques such as gas chromatography, colorimetric reaction-based assays, catalytic, infrared and electrochemical sensors, differential optical absorption spectroscopy and fluorescence spectrometry. Overall we are able to run complete characterization of waste gases from a variety of industrial sites such as composting piles, biofilters, WWTPs, Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Facilities, etc.
In our research group removal efficiencies and odorant concentrations are determined by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry detection in those processes where VOCs are present in the inlet and outlet of waste gases treatment units to identify critical compounds emitted to the atmosphere. Until now, a limited number of full-scale studies have assessed the removal performance of complex mixtures of VOCs using this type of analytical techniques. Hence, one of the goals of this research line is to optimize the performance of gas treatment systems and provide a full and reliable inventory of VOCs, odors and other gases at full-scale mechanical biological treatment facilities. To increase the accurate quantification of compounds, solid phase microextraction (SPME) is used as a pre-concentration technique based on the adsorption of volatile compounds using microfibers coated with polymeric organic-silicon compounds.