Artificial olfaction meets environmental challenges

Artificial olfaction is essential to mitigate environmental odours. It can identify and monitor odours resulting from indoor pollution or problems with process control.

Odours in the environment

Environmental odours can be detrimental to human wellbeing. Odours in the indoor environment are a particular concern. Mitigation may require increased ventilation and energy use. Many industries produce odours, including animal product processing, composting, waste water treatment and chemical processing. Current methods of establishing the strength, quality and source of environmental odours are difficult to carry out.

An improved way to identify and monitor odours

Artificial olfaction (AO) is a fast and accurate technology to identify and monitor odours in the environment. Prototypes using AO technology are already deployed in composting facilities, landfill areas, piggeries or to detect the presence of moulds in buildings. The technology is also used to advise policies concerning odour and indoor pollution. For example, a GOSPEL member has developed a method to evaluate the minimum distance separation between broilers or pigs farms and dwellings. GOSPEL is developing projects to address the issue of environmental odour, including:

• Clear-up – a project addressing the issue of demand-controlled ventilation. This involves the integration of AO with other component technologies to reduce energy use in buildings.

• BioReal – a project investigating odours in chemical processing. BioReal brings together biology and technology partners to measure odorous compounds such as amines, ketones and aldehydes. It will work on the expression of odorant receptors and their incorporation in sensor systems.

The GOSPEL network represents the best expertise in the development of AO technology and applications.