1. How are vapor systems effective for odor control?

Odors surf the airstream in a gas state. Our dynamic waterless vapor-phase systems can be applied to the working face of a landfill, around the perimeter of a waste facility or odor emitting source or along ridge vents of a greenhouse for cannabis odor control. Using our patented uniform vapor-distribution, our technology delivers a consistent and controllable level of odor neutralizing product via an engineered pipe distribution system. Byers’ vapor-phase systems utilize a third party vetted and tested plant-based broad spectrum neutralizer custom formulated to mitigate common odors from a variety of industries (e.g., solid waste, industrial-scale composting, commercial cannabis). Adsorption, more specifically Van der Waals Forces, is the reaction that uses weak electrostatic bonding to mitigate malodor molecules. Odor mitigation through the deployment of plant-based neutralizers is predicated on contact with odor molecules and unlike misting applications that push odors to the ground, vapor meets odor molecules in the air and neutralizes them on contact. Vapor has a higher probability of contact with malodors than misted particles due to collective surface area, space and time.

2. How is an atomization system effective for odor control?

In Byers atomization systems, odor neutralizer is injected into a high-pressure water source creating tiny ultra-fine (<10 microns) atomized (fog) droplets that stay airborne and move with the air stream to come in contact with and adsorb malodor molecules resulting in odor mitigation, not masking. The overall volume of ultra-fine neutralizer droplets creates significant surface area, increasing the system’s ability to adsorb malodors. Atomization systems are a good alternative to vapor-phase systems for applications that are not passively venting. Examples include large exhaust fans and points where HVAC exhausts to ambient air.

3. How does the carbon work in carbon scrubbing?

Activated carbon acts as an adsorbent to remove unwanted odor in a familiar process known as carbon scrubbing. Through the adsorption process, odorous compounds are trapped inside of the porous surface of the carbon. Carbon with superior surface area, such as Camfil’s LGX-048, a coconut shell activated carbon found inside of our MT-6™ Molecular Filtration System, performs best for odor removal. To illustrate, a tablespoon of this carbon media has the equivalent surface area of an entire football field. Carbon scrubbing is considered the industry’s best management practice for cannabis odor control.

4. Is Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) effective for odor control?

Despite claims on the internet, the process of Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) is not inherently effective for odor control. Rather, PCO addresses indoor air quality through the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) with a titanium dioxide photocatalyst and embedded lamps manufactured from doped quartz to destroy harmful organic compounds. PCO has been demonstrated to be extremely effective in the destruction of microbials and other microorganisms including a broad range of pathogens, benefitting indoor air quality as well as worker and plant health. Although there is data showing the destruction of a portion of Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOC’s), PCO should not be relied upon for odor control.

5. What is SCADA?

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is a control system design consisting of computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces (GUI) for process management. Our Bolt-On™ Cloud-based SCADA (IoT) allows operators to remotely monitor and control on-site odor mitigation equipment and systems. This Cloud-based automation also allows multiple site systems to communicate directly with each other liberating manpower rather than requiring it. Further, Byers’ integration of SCADA technology into our suite of odor mitigation solutions empowers operators with access to real-time data for compliance and community advocacy purposes.

6. What causes odor from solid waste landfills?

Landfill odor can come from the leachate, improper landfill gas collection systems and improper utilization of daily cover in the solid waste industry. Gas samples from landfill leachate have been determined to contain ~130 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs) and at least 49 of them are documented as odorants. These compounds are mainly hydrocarbons, sulfur compounds, halogenalkanes, and oxygenated hydrocarbons. The process of bacteria breaking down trash in the absence of oxygen produces the common and explosive landfill gas, methane. Some of these VOCs are also very toxic. It is estimated that more than 99% of landfill gas is comprised of CH4 and CO2.

7. What is odor neutralization versus masking?

Odor neutralization is the actual removal of odor molecules through a chemical reaction and is predicated on physical contact of a neutralizing agent with a malodor molecule. Effective neutralization results in an active chemistry reaction that ultimately changes the molecular structure of the malodor compound, and thereby effects the receptors in our olfactory senses. In contrast, masking does not alter the molecular structure of the malodors but rather seeks to overwhelm (or mask) those molecules with additional more pleasant-smelling molecules; however, this approach is often ineffective as the resulting odors from the mix of odor compounds can itself be a nuisance. For this reason, the proper approach to industrial odor mitigation and commercial cannabis odor control has been and remains neutralization.

8. What causes odor from industrial-scale composting?

At many composting sites odors originate with the incoming waste streams, which may have been stored anaerobically (without oxygen) for a week or more before transport to the site. Once these waste streams are incorporated into the composting system, subsequent odor problems are usually a result of low oxygen or anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic odors include a wide range of compounds, most notoriously the reduced sulfur compounds (e.g., hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, and methanethiol), volatile fatty acids, aromatic compounds and amines. Ammonia is the most common odor that can be formed aerobically as well as anaerobically, and thus has its own set of management options.

9. Are cannabis emissions bad for air quality and public health?

Cannabis plant emissions are made up of terpenes, thiols, and other compounds. Terpenes, or Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOCs), have no public health impact when breathed in. BVOCs, when mixed with sunlight and reactions with other combustion emissions, can cause the formation of ozone and particulate matter (PM). The determination of impact to air quality from the commercial cultivation of cannabis is highly dependent upon the amount of emissions from combustion sources and the meteorological conditions in the proposed environment. For example, the urban areas of Denver, Colorado, and British Columbia, Canada, have large combustion sources but relatively little in the amount of BVOCs that are available. Thus, these areas are known as VOC-limited and in these circumstances BVOCs being emitted from large-scale cannabis cultivation have the potential to form ozone and PM. The proper identification and measurement of cannabis plant emissions, coupled with air quality models, can help determine the extent of impact and guide the best possible control technologies. These technologies can mitigate these emissions before they reach the ambient air and significantly reduce the potential negative impacts to human health.

10. What are the best methods for measuring cannabis emissions including terpenes (BVOCs)

A comprehensive VOC analysis of commercial cannabis facilities enables the highly sensitive detection of over 200 cannabis plant volatiles, including terpenoids and organic sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen compounds. Only by using the leaf enclosure method can the Byers Emissions Analysis team determine the types and volumes of site-specific terpenes and other compounds emitted by the plant. Ambient air sampling at a cultivation site will provide a very limited view of the complex and highly variable compounds emitted from the cannabis plants. However, our testing and analysis methods, including utilization of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), will reveal a canopy’s actual emissions profile, allowing the calculation of a gas-phase emission rate of cultivation or an entire facility. This valuable information can be used to make better informed decisions with respect to cannabis odor mitigation strategy and compliance/risk assessment.