Special Issue "Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Abderrahim Lakhouit
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Interests: Environmental Engineering; Bio-Process; Biocover; Volatile Air Compounds; Landfill Biogas; Renewable Energy and Efficiency; Indoor Air Quality; Air Pollution
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from both static and mobile sources (e.g., industrial, transport, household, fossil fuels use, and many other sources). They are emitted into the atmosphere, taken up by plants, and ingested by animals to be bio accumulated along the food chain up to the apex predator. Many of these pollutants are classified as being toxic/carcinogenic by varying degrees and pose a worldwide risk to the environment and human health. Exposure (through different exposure pathways, i.e., inhalation, dermal absorption, ingestion, etc.) to those hazardous pollutants can damage the immune, neurological, reproductive (e.g., reduced fertility), developmental, and respiratory systems of humans and animals. More efforts are thus needed to improve the method of their detection and treatment. This Special Issue aims to present articles emphasizing more than one of all the available tools to monitor or treat VOCs: (1) measurement techniques for VOC; (2) treatment techniques for VOC; and (3) all important environmental issues associated with the management of VOCs.

Prof. Dr. Ki-Hyun Kim
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Monitoring
  • Treatment

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Biotrickling Filtration of Air Contaminated with 1-Butanol
Environments 2017, 4(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4030057 - 15 Aug 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The removal of high concentrations of 1-butanol in an air stream was evaluated with a biotrickling filter for potential application to an industrial off-gas. Experiments were conducted on a laboratory-scale system, packed with perlite, in a co-current downward mode with constant recycling of [...] Read more.
The removal of high concentrations of 1-butanol in an air stream was evaluated with a biotrickling filter for potential application to an industrial off-gas. Experiments were conducted on a laboratory-scale system, packed with perlite, in a co-current downward mode with constant recycling of water. The performance was monitored for different inlet concentrations and empty bed residence times during a period of over 60 days of stable operation. A maximum elimination capacity (EC) of 100 g m−3 h−1 was achieved during periods in which the butanol concentration varied from 0.55 to 4.65 g m−3. The removal efficiency was stable and exceeded 80% for butanol concentrations in the range of 0.4 to 1.2 g m−3, corresponding to inlet mass loadings of up to approximately 100 g m−3 h−1. However, when the concentration exceeded 4 g m−3, removal efficiency rapidly dropped to 15% (EC of 22 g m−3 h−1), indicating an inhibition effect that was reversed by decreasing the inlet concentration. This biotrickling filter was able to deal with higher sustained butanol concentrations than have been previously reported, but might not be suitable for concentrations much in excess of 1.2 g m−3 or mass inlet loads in excess of 100 g m−3 h−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Lean VOC-Air Mixtures Catalytic Treatment: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Competing Technologies
Environments 2017, 4(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4030046 - 25 Jun 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Various processing routes are available for the treatment of lean VOC-air mixtures, and a cost-benefit analysis is the tool we propose to identify the most suitable technology. Two systems have been compared in this paper, namely a “traditional” plant, with a catalytic fixed-bed [...] Read more.
Various processing routes are available for the treatment of lean VOC-air mixtures, and a cost-benefit analysis is the tool we propose to identify the most suitable technology. Two systems have been compared in this paper, namely a “traditional” plant, with a catalytic fixed-bed reactor with a heat exchanger for heat recovery purposes, and a “non-traditional” plant, with a catalytic reverse-flow reactor, where regenerative heat recovery may be achieved thanks to the periodical reversal of the flow direction. To be useful for decisions-making, the cost-benefit analysis must be coupled to the reliability, or availability, analysis of the plant. Integrated Dynamic Decision Analysis is used for this purpose as it allows obtaining the full set of possible sequences of events that could result in plant unavailability, and, for each of them, the probability of occurrence is calculated. Benefits are thus expressed in terms of out-of-services times, that have to be minimized, while the costs are expressed in terms of extra-cost for maintenance activities and recovery actions. These variable costs must be considered together with the capital (fixed) cost required for building the plant. Results evidenced the pros and cons of the two plants. The “traditional” plant ensures a higher continuity of services, but also higher operational costs. The reverse-flow reactor-based plant exhibits lower operational costs, but a higher number of protection levels are needed to obtain a similar level of out-of-service. The quantification of risks and benefits allows the stakeholders to deal with a complete picture of the behavior of the plants, fostering a more effective decision-making process. With reference to the case under study and the relevant operational conditions, the regenerative system was demonstrated to be more suitable to treat lean mixtures: in terms of time losses following potential failures the two technologies are comparable (Fixed bed plant: 0.35 h/year and Reverse flow plant: 0.56 h/year), while in terms of operational costs, despite its higher complexity, the regenerative system shows lower costs (1200 €/year). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Indoor Air Quality Assessment and Study of Different VOC Contributions within a School in Taranto City, South of Italy
Environments 2017, 4(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010023 - 10 Mar 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Children spend a large amount of time in school environments and when Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is poor, comfort, productivity and learning performances may be affected. The aim of the present study is to characterize IAQ in a primary school located in Taranto [...] Read more.
Children spend a large amount of time in school environments and when Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is poor, comfort, productivity and learning performances may be affected. The aim of the present study is to characterize IAQ in a primary school located in Taranto city (south of Italy). Because of the proximity of a large industrial complex to the urban settlement, this district is one of the areas identified as being at high environmental risk in Italy. The study carried out simultaneous monitoring of indoor and outdoor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) concentrations and assessed different pollutants’ contributions on the IAQ of the investigated site. A screening study of VOC and determination of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes (BTEX), sampled with Radiello® diffusive samplers suitable for thermal desorption, were carried out in three classrooms, in the corridor and in the yard of the school building. Simultaneously, Total VOC (TVOC) concentration was measured by means of real-time monitoring, in order to study the activation of sources during the monitored days. The analysis results showed a prevalent indoor contribution for all VOC except for BTEX which presented similar concentrations in indoor and outdoor air. Among the determined VOC, Terpenes and 2-butohxyethanol were shown to be an indoor source, the latter being the indoor pollutant with the highest concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Highly Sensitive and Selective VOC Sensor Systems Based on Semiconductor Gas Sensors: How to?
Environments 2017, 4(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010020 - 01 Mar 2017
Cited by 15
Abstract
Monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is of increasing importance in many application fields such as environmental monitoring, indoor air quality, industrial safety, fire detection, and health applications. The challenges in all of these applications are the wide variety and low concentrations of [...] Read more.
Monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is of increasing importance in many application fields such as environmental monitoring, indoor air quality, industrial safety, fire detection, and health applications. The challenges in all of these applications are the wide variety and low concentrations of target molecules combined with the complex matrix containing many inorganic and organic interferents. This paper will give an overview over the application fields and address the requirements, pitfalls, and possible solutions for using low-cost sensor systems for VOC monitoring. The focus lies on highly sensitive metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors, which show very high sensitivity, but normally lack selectivity required for targeting relevant VOC monitoring applications. In addition to providing an overview of methods to increase the selectivity, especially virtual multisensors achieved with dynamic operation, and boost the sensitivity further via novel pro-concentrator concepts, we will also address the requirement for high-performance gas test systems, advanced solutions for operating and read-out electronic, and, finally, a cost-efficient factory and on-site calibration. The various methods will be primarily discussed in the context of requirements for monitoring of indoor air quality, but can equally be applied for environmental monitoring and other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Negative Reagent Ions for Real Time Detection Using SIFT-MS
Environments 2017, 4(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010016 - 15 Feb 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Direct analysis techniques have greatly simplified analytical methods used to monitor analytes at trace levels in air samples. One of these methods, Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), has proven to be particularly effective because of its speed and ease of use. The [...] Read more.
Direct analysis techniques have greatly simplified analytical methods used to monitor analytes at trace levels in air samples. One of these methods, Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), has proven to be particularly effective because of its speed and ease of use. The range of analytes accessible using the SIFT-MS technique has been extended by this work as it introduces five new negatively charged reagent ions (O, OH, O2, NO2, and NO3) from the same microwave powered ion source of moist air used to generate the reagent ions traditionally used (H3O+, NO+, and O2+). Results are presented using a nitrogen carrier gas showing the linearity with concentration of a number of analytes not readily accessible to positive reagent ions (CO2 from ppbv to 40,000 ppmv, sulfuryl fluoride and HCl). The range of analytes open to the SIFT-MS technique has been extended and selectivity enhanced using negative reagent ions to include CCl3NO2, SO2F2, HCN, CH3Cl, PH3, C2H4Br2, HF, HCl, SO2, SO3, and NO2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Photocatalytic Degradation of Toluene, Butyl Acetate and Limonene under UV and Visible Light with Titanium Dioxide-Graphene Oxide as Photocatalyst
Environments 2017, 4(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010009 - 25 Jan 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Photocatalysis is a promising technique to reduce volatile organic compounds indoors. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a frequently-used UV active photocatalyst. Because of the lack of UV light indoors, TiO2 has to be modified to get its working range shifted into [...] Read more.
Photocatalysis is a promising technique to reduce volatile organic compounds indoors. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a frequently-used UV active photocatalyst. Because of the lack of UV light indoors, TiO2 has to be modified to get its working range shifted into the visible light spectrum. In this study, the photocatalytic degradation of toluene, butyl acetate and limonene was investigated under UV LED light and blue LED light in emission test chambers with catalysts either made of pure TiO2 or TiO2 modified with graphene oxide (GO). TiO2 coated with different GO amounts (0.75%–14%) were investigated to find an optimum ratio for the photocatalytic degradation of VOC in real indoor air concentrations. Most experiments were performed at a relative humidity of 0% in 20 L emission test chambers. Experiments at 40% relative humidity were done in a 1 m³ emission test chamber to determine potential byproducts. Degradation under UV LED light could be achieved for all three compounds with almost all tested catalyst samples up to more than 95%. Limonene had the highest degradation of the three selected volatile organic compounds under blue LED light with all investigated catalyst samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Air Quality beside a Municipal Landfill: The Fate of Malodour Compounds as a Model VOC
Environments 2017, 4(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010007 - 17 Jan 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
This paper presents the results of an investigation on ambient air odour quality in the vicinity of a municipal landfill. The investigations were carried out during the spring–winter and the spring seasons using two types of the electronic nose instrument. The field olfactometers [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of an investigation on ambient air odour quality in the vicinity of a municipal landfill. The investigations were carried out during the spring–winter and the spring seasons using two types of the electronic nose instrument. The field olfactometers were employed to determine the mean odour concentration, which was from 2.1 to 32.2 ou/m3 depending on the measurement site and season of the year. In the case of the investigation performed with two types of the electronic nose, a classification of the ambient air samples with respect to the collection site was carried out using the k-nearest neighbours (kNN) algorithm supported with the cross-validation method. Correct classification of the ambient air samples collected during the spring–winter season was at the level from 71.9% to 87.5% and from 84.4% to 94.8% for the samples collected during the spring season depending on the electronic nose type utilized in the studies. It was also revealed that the kNN algorithm applied for classification of the samples exhibited better discrimination abilities than the algorithms of the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and quadratic discriminant function (QDA) type. Performed seasonal investigations proved the ability of the electronic nose to discriminate the ambient air samples differing in odorants’ concentration and collection site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Study on the Kinetics and Removal Formula of Methanethiol by Ethanol Absorption
Environments 2016, 3(4), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3040027 - 27 Oct 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Biological filtration is widely used for deodorising in wastewater treatment plants. This technique can efficiently remove soluble odour-causing substances, but minimally affects hydrophobic odorants, such as methanethiol (MT) and dimethyl sulfide. Ethanol absorption capacity for MT (as a representative hydrophobic odorant) was studied, [...] Read more.
Biological filtration is widely used for deodorising in wastewater treatment plants. This technique can efficiently remove soluble odour-causing substances, but minimally affects hydrophobic odorants, such as methanethiol (MT) and dimethyl sulfide. Ethanol absorption capacity for MT (as a representative hydrophobic odorant) was studied, and the MT removal rate formula was deduced based on the principle of physical absorption. Results indicated that the MT removal rate reached 80% when the volume ratio of ethanol/water was 1:5. The phase equilibrium constant was 0.024, and the overall mass transfer coefficient was 2.55 kmol/m2·h in the deodorisation tower that functioned as the physical absorption device. Examination results showed that the formula exhibited adaptability under changing working conditions. These findings provide a reference for engineering design and operation of a process for the removal of MT by ethanol absorption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Currently Commercially Available Chemical Sensors Employed for Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds in Outdoor and Indoor Air
Environments 2017, 4(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4010021 - 06 Mar 2017
Cited by 49
Abstract
The paper presents principle of operation and design of the most popular chemical sensors for measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in outdoor and indoor air. It describes the sensors for evaluation of explosion risk including pellistors and IR-absorption sensors as well as [...] Read more.
The paper presents principle of operation and design of the most popular chemical sensors for measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in outdoor and indoor air. It describes the sensors for evaluation of explosion risk including pellistors and IR-absorption sensors as well as the sensors for detection of toxic compounds such as electrochemical (amperometric), photoionization and semiconductor with solid electrolyte ones. Commercially available sensors for detection of VOCs and their metrological parameters—measurement range, limit of detection, measurement resolution, sensitivity and response time—were presented. Moreover, development trends and prospects of improvement of the metrological parameters of these sensors were highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the Atmospheric Environment: Regulatory Aspects and Monitoring in Japan and Korea
Environments 2016, 3(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3030023 - 07 Sep 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
In the past decades, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), so-called air toxics or toxic air pollutants, have been detected in the atmospheric air at low concentration levels, causing public concern about the adverse effect of long-term exposure to HAPs on human health. Most HAPs [...] Read more.
In the past decades, hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), so-called air toxics or toxic air pollutants, have been detected in the atmospheric air at low concentration levels, causing public concern about the adverse effect of long-term exposure to HAPs on human health. Most HAPs belong to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). More seriously, most of them are known carcinogens or probably carcinogenic to humans. The objectives of this paper were to report the regulatory aspects and environmental monitoring management of toxic VOCs designated by Japan and Korea under the Air Pollution Control Act, and the Clean Air Conservation Act, respectively. It can be found that the environmental quality standards and environmental monitoring of priority VOCs (i.e., benzene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and dichloromethane) have been set and taken by the state and local governments of Japan since the early 2000, but not completely established in Korea. On the other hand, the significant progress in reducing the emissions of some toxic VOCs, including acrylonitrile, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, 1,2-dichloroethane, dichloromethane, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene in Japan was also described as a case study in the brief report paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Organic Compounds in Environment) Printed Edition available
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