Wet scrubber analysis of volatile organic compound removal in the rendering industry

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2002 Apr;52(4):459-69. doi: 10.1080/10473289.2002.10470800.


The promulgation of odor control rules, increasing public concerns, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air regulations in nonattainment zones necessitates the remediation of a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) generated by the rendering industry. Currently, wet scrubbers with oxidizing chemicals are used to treat VOCs; however, little information is available on scrubber efficiency for many of the VOCs generated within the rendering process. Portable gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) units were used to rapidly identify key VOCs on-site in process streams at two poultry byproduct rendering plants. On-site analysis was found to be important, given the significant reduction in peak areas if samples were held for 24 hr before analysis. Major compounds consistently identified in the emissions from the plant included dimethyl disulfide, methanethiol, octane, hexanal, 2-methylbutanal, and 3-methylbutanal. The two branched aldehydes, 2-methylbutanal and 3-methylbutanal, were by far the most consistent, appearing in every sample and typically the largest fraction of the VOC mixture. A chlorinated hydrocarbon, methanesulfonyl chloride, was identified in the outlet of a high-intensity wet scrubber, and several VOCs and chlorinated compounds were identified in the scrubbing solution, but not on a consistent basis. Total VOC concentrations in noncondensable gas streams ranged from 4 to 91 ppmv. At the two plants, the odor-causing compound methanethiol ranged from 25 to 33% and 9.6% of the total VOCs (v/v). In one plant, wet scrubber analysis using chlorine dioxide (ClO2) as the oxidizing agent indicated that close to 100% of the methanethiol was removed from the gas phase, but removal efficiencies ranged from 20 to 80% for the aldehydes and hydrocarbons and from 23 to 64% for total VOCs. In the second plant, conversion efficiencies were much lower in a packed-bed wet scrubber, with a measurable removal of only dimethyl sulfide (20-100%).

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Food Handling*
  • Food Industry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Poultry Products*


  • Air Pollutants