Since electronic noses are used more and more for air quality monitoring purposes, and in some countries are starting to have a legal value, there is a need for standardization and programs for the quality verification of instruments. Such quality programs have the aim to guarantee the main characteristics of the instrument for both the final user and local authorities, let the user establish a suitable maintenance procedure and give information on measurement uncertainty. One critical aspect when dealing with electronic noses for environmental odour monitoring is that environmental odours are complex mixtures that are not repeatable nor reproducible, giving that they are not suitable for quality verifications. This paper aims to review and discuss the different approaches that can be adopted in order to perform quality checks on electronic noses (e-noses) used for environmental odour monitoring, thereby referring to existing technical standards, such as the Dutch NTA 9055:2012, the new German VDI 3518-3:2018, and the Italian UNI 1605848 project, which directly refer to electronic noses. Moreover, also the European technical standards that are prescriptive for automatic measuring systems (AMSs) are taken into consideration (i.e., EN 14181:2014 and EN 15267:2009), and their possible applicability to electronic noses is investigated. Finally, the pros and cons of the different approaches are presented and discussed in the conclusions section.
Keywords: air quality; emission monitoring; minimum requirements; performance testing; quality protocols; sensor arrays; technical standards.