Odorous compounds emissions in an urban and industrialized area

   In industrialized cities, there are many possible sources of odorous compounds, such as steel and pelletizing industries, wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and harbors. For most of these sources, limited data is available on odours emissions in inventories. To estimate odorous VOCs in gaseous emissions from industries it is necessary to identify which VOCs are emitted and are odorous.

   Although reasonably simple, there are few papers addressing this issue. Thus, this study aimed to categorize chemically the VOCs and TRS emissions from major activities in an industrialized urban area of Brazil, crossing references with U.S. EPA - AP 42 documents, SPECIATE 4.5 database, and literature available.

D. F. Monticelli1*, B. Furieri1, V. F. Lavor1, E. V. Goulart1, J. M. Santos1, N. C. Reis Jr1, E. S. Galvão1, E. Lopes3, M. M. Melo2

1 Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Goiabeiras, Vitória, Brazil
2 Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo, Guarapari, Aeroporto, Guarapari, Brazil
3 ArcelorMittal Tubarão, Polo Industrial, Serra, Brazil

   Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

   Academic editor: Carlos N Díaz.

   Content quality: This paper has been peer reviewed by at least two reviewers. See scientific committee here

   Citation: D. F. Monticelli, B. Furieri, V. F. Lavor, E. V. Goulart, J. M. Santos, N. C. Reis Jr, E. S. Galvão, E. Lopes, M. M. Melo, 2019, Odorous compounds emissions in an urban and industrialized area, OLORES19 Conference, Santiago, Chile, www.olores.org.

   Copyright: 2019 Olores.org. Open Content Creative Commons license. It is allowed to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in olores.org website, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

   ISBN: 978-84-09-22553-8

   Keyword: Volatile Organic Compounds, Emissions inventory, Odorous compounds, Urban odour, VOC

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   In industrialized cities, there are many possible sources of odorous compounds, such as steel and pelletizing industries, wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and harbors. For most of these sources, limited data is available on odours emissions in inventories. To estimate odorous VOCs in gaseous emissions from industries it is necessary to identify which VOCs are emitted and are odorous. Although reasonably simple, there are few papers addressing this issue.

   Thus, this study aimed to categorize chemically the VOCs and TRS emissions from major activities in an industrialized urban area of Brazil, crossing references with U.S. EPA - AP 42 documents, SPECIATE 4.5 database, and literature available. The results provide key odorous compounds classified by potential nuisance, relation with emission activity and odour characteristics. This paper can assist further studies addressing industry odour emissions and dispersion modelling studies.


1. Introduction

   Odour nuisance in urban regions is a worldwide-recognized issue (Brancher et al., 2017; Nicell, 2009). At the city level, many case studies focus on dispersion modelling of specific sources of odorous compounds emissions (i.e. Abdul-Wahab et al., 2017; Çetin Doğruparmak et al., 2018; Luciano et al., 2017). In this sense, odour modelling proved to be a powerful tool integrated with urban planning (Badach et al., 2018). However, using dispersion models implies that emission inventories of the odorous compounds are known and, in fact, this information is not easily available.

   According to Brancher et al. (2017) there are five key difficulties in odour emissions estimation, such as:(i) establishing concentrations for fugitive or diffusive sources, (ii) characterize temporal variations, (iii) sample variability, (iv) lack of equipment to monitor in real time and (v) uncertainties via dynamic olfactometry measurements.

   To overcome these drawbacks, we propose a methodology that integrates current estimation of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Total Reduced Sulphur compounds (TRS) in emission inventories and their chemical profile associated to odorous compounds. A vast literature on VOC and TRS odorous compounds is available (Abraham et al., 2012; Dravnieks and Forest, 2015; Jiang et al., 2017; Leonardos et al., 1969; Nagata, 2003; Rappert and Müller, 2005; Ruth, 1986; Talaiekhozani et al., 2016), which allow the development of this methodology.


2. Materials and methods

   Methodological phases proposed are: (i) list a sufficient amount of odorous VOC and TRS compounds; (ii) establish emission sources of VOC/TRS for a case study in an urban industrialized area (or use current emission inventory); (iii) specify chemically VOC/TRS emitted by source and assess its data quality; (iv) quantify emission rate of odorous compounds by source and (v) summarize information on type of odour, smell and threshold.

   For phase (i), the authors used available information described in Abraham et al. (2012); Dravnieks and Forest (2015); Jiang et al. (2017); Leonardos et al. (1969); Nagata (2003); Rappert and Müller (2005); Ruth (1986); Talaiekhozani et al. (2016) to create a list of common VOC and TRS odorous compounds. This list resulted in 472 different species. Additionally, later we present the major compounds emitted and their thresholds.

   Phase (ii) derived from local VOC emissions inventory of the Metropolitan Region of Grande Vitória (MRGV), ES - Brazil (Figure 1). The authors investigated the emissions of 152 sources grouped into 33 industries. Sources were categorized according to relevance of VOC emissions rate and proximity to complaining districts in the region.

 Figure 1. Sources of VOC compounds and domain of interest, WWTP = Wastewater Treatment Plants.

   Phase (iii) consisted in finding the VOC/TRS emissions profile of sources established in previous stage. To achieve this, the compilation of USEPA documents, AP42 and SPECIATE 4.5, proved very useful. Whenever those bases were not enough, scientific literature complemented the data (Chin and Batterman, 2012; Ciaparra et al., 2009; Garcia et al., 1992; Huang et al., 2018; Jiang et al., 2017; Jiun-horng et al., 2008; Li et al., 2017, 2018; Liang et al., 2017; Lin et al., 2012; Mihelcic et al., 2012; Milazzo et al., 2017; Nagorny and Francke, 2005; Rappert and Müller, 2005; Shen et al., 2018; Shi et al., 2015; Talaiekhozani et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2018; Xiao et al., 2018; Yeretzian et al., 2002).

   Phase (iv) resumed into an estimation of the odorous VOC/TRS percentage emitted based on the VOC/TRS source chemical emission profile. For instance, from 26 VOC emitted in nonrecovery combustion stacks of coke production (USEPA, 2008a), 16 are considered odorous and they accumulate 89% of VOC emissions mass.

   Phase (v) consists in summing odorous compounds estimated and categorizing chemical compounds according to their smell and odour threshold. Furthermore, the authors employed the Gaussian dispersion formula for limit scenarios to verify which compound could appear above its ambient threshold limit in order to select a focus for dispersion model studies.


3. Results and discussion

   A summary of the main references used in the construction of the odorous compounds emissions inventory is given in Table 1. The ten major compounds emitted in the region do not represent the prime concerns as other odorous VOC and TRS appear to exceed the odour threshold limit at a given condition of the atmosphere and pollutant release. Those that are found above the concentration limit are given in Table 2. Specific sources were grouped into ten categories that better fit the major industrial emission in MRGV. The total emission represents the sum of the particular compound release from all sources.

Table 1. Major emissions found.

Compound Total emission Emited by1
 VOC/TRS/Ammonia (kg/h) S.I2 L3 A4 WT5 V.H6 NGD7 NGC8 F.I9 R/V10 T11
Toluene 70.08 X X X X X X X   X X
Benzene 52.46 X   X X X X X   X X
Pentane 40.14 X           X      
Butane 32.42 X           X      
Dodecane 29.91         X          
Propane 25.03 X X     X X X   X X
Formaldehyde 14.24 X     X   X X X    
p-Xylene 8.80       X X          
Isopentane 4.57 X   X           X X
n-Butane 4.44 X X X   X       X X
Ammonia 4.10 X                  
Hydrogen Sulfide 3.84 X     X X          

1S.I = Steel industry; L = Landfills; A = Airports; WT = Wastewater Treatment; V.H = Vessels and Harbours; NGD = Natural Gas Distribution; NGC = Natural Gas Combustion; F.I = Food Industry (coffee); R/V = Refuelling/Vehicles; T = Thermal power; 2SPECIATE 2569, 0217, 0013; Li et al. (2018); USEPA (2008); 3SPECIATE 0202, 4SPECIATE 2571, 5SPECIATE 3003, Jiang et al. (2017); Talaiekhozani et al. (2016), 6Huang et al. (2018); Milazzo et al. (2017); Xiao et al. (2018), 7SPECIATE 7197, 7USEPA (2008b), 8Yeretzian et al. (2002), 9SPECIATE 2561; Chin and Batterman (2012), 10Shi et al. (2015); Garcia et al. (1992).

   To estimate odorous compounds that could potentially be affecting a given population the authors applied the well-known Gaussian-plume dispersion equation (Equation 1) and the peak-to-mean approach (Equation 2) under stable atmosphere conditions, assuming a release of near-ground emissions with low wind speed prevalence and within a 100m radius to neighbourhoods. This was done to estimate ambient concentrations of total VOC and TRS release on the worst-case scenario.



   The results of this analysis are given in Table 3. From major emissions found in Table 2 only Toluene, Formaldehyde and p-Xylene were considered important. Other odorous compounds that appeared to be relevant were Ethyl benzene, Hydrogen sulphide and Ammonia. Those gases are emitted majorly by Steel industry, Wastewater Treatment and Vessels and Harbours. References on odour threshold limits and smell are found in many studies (Abraham et al., 2012; Dravnieks and Forest, 2015; Jiang et al., 2017; Leonardos et al., 1969; Nagata, 2003; Ruth, 1986; Talaiekhozani et al., 2016; Verschueren, 2006).

 Table 2. Pollutants of concern.

Compound Total emission Estimated concentration Minimum Odour Threshold Odour smell Reference
VOC (kg/h) (mg/m3) (mg/m3) (type) (author)
Toluene 70.08 1.241-2.252 0.4 Rubbery, tarry, mothballs (Jiang et al., 2017)3
Formaldehyde 14.24 0.251-0.462 0.06 Unpleasant, strong, suffocating
p-Xylene 8.80 0.1561-0.282 0.052 Rubbery
Ethyl benzene 4.01 0.071-0.132 0.01 Sweet, solventy
Hydrogen sulphide 3.84 0.0671-0.122 5.6E55 Rotten eggs
Ammonia 4.10 0.0721-0.132 0.03 Pungent, irritating

   1Using Equation 1. 2Using Equation 2.3Reference used for all pollutants.

   Comparing with Li et al. (2017); Liang et al. (2017); Shen et al. (2018) one can perceive resemblance with our results. For instance, in Li et al. (2017) the VOC profile of most sources under investigation correlated with this study. In Liang et al. (2017) and Shen et al. (2018) it is possible to verify that key odorous VOC compounds emitted in China and regions are similar to our study area. Furthermore, sources of concern and scents felt by population matched some indicated in Hayes et al. (2017) study. However, many aspects of odour estimations are still complex and scarce information for source profiles is available.


4. Conclusions

   The authors provided a methodology to estimate the emission of odorous compounds to the atmosphere and applied it to an industrialized urban area. The main difficulty in our study was finding VOC and TRS chemical emissions profile for specific sources. This resulted in the qualitative estimation of unaccounted sources, which are known for emitting odours but could not be quantified. This study results proved to be correlated with odour estimation studies conducted in different regions of the planet. Further dispersion and monitoring studies may be assisted by our results and establish stronger parallels with estimated odorous compounds and population perception.


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