Including an Odor Impact Potential in Life Cycle Assessment of waste treatment plants

  • E. Cadena
  • F. Adani
  • X. Font
  • A. ArtolaEmail author
Original Paper


Odors occupy a leading position among air quality issues of growing concern. Odors can be emitted from different economic sectors, from industrial to agricultural, including waste treatment activities. Although there are different techniques to determine odor emissions, a standardized indicator has not still been defined to include odor impact into methodological tools such as Life Cycle Assessment. In this sense, some proposals can be found in current literature. Considering these approaches, the present work proposes the Odor Impact Potential, an indicator to be used in Life Cycle Assessment or in waste treatment technologies benchmarking. A simple method is reported to calculate the Odor Impact Potential value from different types of data: chemical analysis of odorants or olfactometric determinations. Data obtained in a previous work for an industrial scale anaerobic digestion plant have been used to present an example of application. Additional Odor Impact Potential calculations from other published data (thermal waste treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant) are also included. The aim of Odor Impact Potential is not to replace parameters such as odor emission rates, odor concentration, or odor emission factors but to use those values to calculate the odor-derived impact in Life Cycle Assessment studies.


Anaerobic digestion Environmental impact Odor emissions Olfactometry Organic waste Volatile organic compounds 



The authors want to thank Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas for the award of a pre-doctoral fellowship and Estel·la Pagans for her helpful comments and advisement on odor measurement and calculations.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Composting Research Group, Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Edifici QUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  2. 2.Gruppo Ricicla, Dipartimento di Produzione VegetaleUniversità Degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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