odor abatement: types and methods

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

The perception of a bad smell should not be underestimated because it may not only concern the aspect related to well-being, i.e. the perceived annoyance but could be indicative of the presence of a polluting substance in the air and therefore harmful to health.

Il primo passo da fare è identificare la fonte dell’odore. Sembra un suggerimento banale, ma identificare con esattezza provenienza e tipologia dell’odore può non essere semplice. Vi sono più sistemi di abbattimento odori, e quello che può funzionare benissimo per una sostanza può essere completamente inutile per un’altra.

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


Filtration by absorption is a separation method that uses un absorbent material (among the most common are activated carbon, zeolite and clay) to remove unwanted particles or molecules from a fluid or gas. The absorbent material is a material that has a strong affinity for unwanted particles or molecules. When the fluid or gas is passed through the absorbent material, the unwanted particles or molecules are attracted and trapped by the material.
It is a good method, effective and versatile, 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, feeding on it, metabolize the odor-causing substances transforming them into harmless substances such as water, carbon dioxide, and other compounds.

It is a natural and eco-sustainable system but it has some disadvantages. First of all, it is a system, to date, for use in industrial environments as it requires specialized maintenance: the microorganisms must be constantly renewed to maintain their effectiveness. Furthermore, the effectiveness of deodorization is highly variable and can take time to be effective.

Deodorization - Neutralization

The odor molecules are neutralized by chemical substances (salts, acids, alkalis) which provide for transforming them into odorless substances.

It is effective both on odors of organic origin and of chemical origin but it is necessary to know exactly the source to be able to use the appropriate neutralizing substance. This is also a system mainly intended for industrial use, although there are many products on the market for domestic use, calibrated for the most common odors.


The air is passed through filters made of materials that trap odor molecules (mainly activated carbons).
It is perhaps the most widespread and versatile method since it adapts to both domestic and industrial environments.

Among the various types, photocatalytic filters are becoming increasingly popular as a solution for odor abatement. It is a technology, discovered some time ago but recently commercially widespread, that exploits photocatalysis to decompose odor-causing molecules. Photocatalytic filtration is a photochemical reaction in which a catalyst (titanium dioxide) irradiated by light, decomposes the polluting substances in whose composition carbon is present.

It is one of the best air purification methods, as it does not simply filter pollutants (in the traditional sense of "retaining"), but destroys them and, therefore, manages to be effective even against substances too small to be physically blocked by a filter, such as, for example, bad smells.

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

These filters have the disadvantage of being more expensive than normal carbon filters, but they also have some important advantages:

Advantages of titanium dioxide filtration:

  • EfficaciaEffectiveness: It can remove a wide range of VOCs, even those at low concentrations.
  • SelettivitàSelectivity: 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 robust and require minimal maintenance.
  • Bactericidal power: amplified if used with UVC

Reduce Pollutants, Eliminate Odors, Purify Air with Depurex

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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.