Technology combats offending industry odours

Friday, 15 May, 2009

Murdoch University scientists have combined engineering and modern biotechnology in a process that will combat offending industry odours — particularly wastewater treatment and secondary waste processing.

Murdoch’s expert on water and waste management, Professor Goen Ho, is part of the Environmental Biotechnology CRC (EBCRC) research team working on the new technology.

“This system for odour control will provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for industries that produce odours that can disturb nearby communities,” Ho said.

EBCRC researchers from both Murdoch and the Macquarie University in Sydney collaboratively developed a novel way to harness bacteria to biodegrade odour-causing substances.

Dr David Garman, EBCRC Executive Director, said this was a breakthrough in an application of biotechnology to large-scale industrial use.

“This is a designer system for odour control,” Garman said.

“We are able to cope with the difficult emissions that others can only tackle with guesswork.”

Ho said the new technology was based on the immobilisation of odours onto absorbing particles, where they were broken down with enzymes or bacteria.

“The particles are of a self-contained, self-regenerating odour absorption and destruction system that can be customised to suit different users,” Ho said.

“The odour control process has the capacity to replace currently used biofilters which, although effective in removing many odours, deteriorate over time and eventually fail.

“Similarly, currently available chemical systems also require continuous chemical addition and treatment of chemical by-products.”

The technology is now being developed for municipal-scale composting facilities and sewage treatment plants.

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