Academic journal article The Science Teacher

New Technology Cuts Odors

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

New Technology Cuts Odors

Article excerpt

A North Carolina State University (NC State) researcher has devised a new technology that really does not stink. In fact, it could be the key to eliminating foul odors and air pollutants emitted by industrial chicken rendering facilities and--ultimately--large-scale swine feedlots.

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Praveen Kolar, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering at NC State, has developed an inexpensive treatment process that significantly mitigates odors from poultry rendering operations. Rendering facilities take animal byproducts (e.g., skin, bones, and feathers) and process them into useful products such as fertilizer. However, the rendering process produces extremely foul odors.

These emissions are not currently regulated by the government, but the smell can be extremely disruptive to a facility's community. The industry currently uses chemical "scrubbers" to remove odor-causing agents, but this technique is not very effective, Kolar says. Furthermore, some of the odor-causing compounds are aldehydes, which can combine with other atmospheric compounds to form ozone--triggering asthma attacks and causing other adverse respiratory health effects.

Kolar, working with his coauthor James Kastner at the University of Georgia, has designed an effective filtration system that takes advantage of catalytic oxidation to remove these odor-causing pollutants. …

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