Odor abatement: types and methods

Odor abatement is the process of reducing or eliminating unpleasant odors from an environment.

The perception of a bad odor should not be underestimated because it may not relate exclusively to the well-being aspect, namely perceived annoyance, but could be indicative of the presence of a pollutant in the air and therefore harmful to health.

The first step is to identify the source of the odor. This sounds like a trivial suggestion, but identifying exactly where the odor comes from and what type it is may not be easy. There are multiple odor abatement systems, and what may work great for one substance may be completely useless for another.

There are several methods for odor abatement, which can be used individually or in combination. The most common methods include:


Adsorption filtration is a separation method that uses an adsorbent material (among the most common are activated carbon, zeolite, and clay) to remove unwanted particles or molecules from a fluid or gas. Adsorbent material is a material that has a strong affinity for unwanted particles or molecules. When fluid or gas is passed through the adsorbent material, unwanted particles or molecules are attracted and trapped by the material.
It is a good, effective and versatile method, but it has the disadvantage of requiring high maintenance: the absorbent material must be regenerated or replaced periodically.


The odor is decomposed by microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi, which, by feeding on it, metabolize the odoriferous substances by transforming them into harmless substances such as water, carbon dioxide and other compounds.

This is a natural and environmentally sustainable system, but it has some disadvantages. First, it is a system, to date, for use in industrial environments because it requires specialized maintenance: the microorganisms must be constantly renewed to maintain their effectiveness. In addition, the effectiveness of deodorization is highly variable and can take time to be effective.

Deodorization - Neutralization

The odor molecules are neutralized by chemicals (salts, acids, alkalis) that provide for their transformation into odorless substances.

It is effective on both organic and chemical odors, but it is necessary to know the exact source in order to use the appropriate neutralizing substance. This is also a system primarily intended for industrial use, although there are many products on the market for domestic use, calibrated to the most common odors.

Filtro Fotocatalitico Biossido di Titanio
trattamento odori acque reflue


Air is passed through filters made of materials that trap odor molecules (mainly activated carbon).
It is perhaps the most popular and versatile method as it is suitable for both domestic and industrial environments.

Among the various types, photocatalytic filters are becoming increasingly popular as a solution for odor abatement. This is a long-discovered but recently commercially deployed technology that uses photocatalysis to decompose odorigenic molecules. Photocatalytic filtration is a photochemical reaction in which a catalyst (titanium dioxide) irradiated by light, decomposes pollutants in whose composition carbon is present.

It is one of the best methods of air purification because it does not just filter out pollutants (in the traditional sense of “holding back”), but destroys them and, therefore, manages to be effective even against substances that are too small to be physically blocked by a filter, such as, for example, odors.

With this technology, purification is accomplished by photocatalysis, whereby titanium dioxide absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light and uses the energy generated to break down VOC molecules into simpler, harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide and water.

Such filters have the disadvantage of being more expensive than ordinary carbon filters, but they also possess some important advantages:

The advantages of titanium dioxide filtration:

  • Effectiveness: Can remove a wide range of VOCs, even those with low concentrations.
  • Selectivity: Can selectively attack VOCs, leaving other gases in the air or water unaffected.
  • Environmentally friendly: Does not use hazardous chemicals and does not produce harmful by-products.
  • Low maintenance: Titanium dioxide filters are relatively robust and require minimal maintenance.
  • Bactericidal power: amplified when used with UVC
Learn more about how DEPUREX's photocatalytic filters can help you break down volatile organic compounds, odors, indoor pollution, and air emissions.
Picture of Stefano Marini

Stefano Marini

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Depurex progetta e produce filtri fotocatalitici trattati al biossido di titanio per l’abbattimento di composti organici volatili, di cattivi odori e la sanificazione dell’aria da virus e batteri.