Biofiltration for odour control at the Ecoparc de Barcelona

In 2016, Labaqua and SUEZ AdvancedSolutions undertook the renewal of 50% of the biological filter media of the advanced biofilters that form part of the odour control system at the Ecoparc de Barcelona. The aim of this project was to continue ensuring the efficiency of the odour control system and contaminant removal, as well as reducing energy costs as a result of the lower head loss afforded by the new biofilter media. Due to the excellent features of the company’s advanced biofilter media implemented in the odour control system since 2007, the Ecoparc once again opted for a solution proposed by SUEZ.


Around 1.6 million tonnes of waste is produced every year in the Barcelona metropolitan area (excluding industrial waste). The Ecoparc de Barcelona is an environmental facility dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of municipal organic waste and undifferentiated waste (brown and grey containers). The different types of treatment implemented at the facility include recyclables sorting, composting of organic matter and methanisation.

The Ecoparc de Barcelona was the result of an intensive research process that enabled the implementation of the most efficient, innovative technologies in all of the processes. The facility features a number of different safety and environmental control systems.

The need to implement a treatment system to reduce odours and ensure a healthy environment was met by the installation of an Advanced BioFilter. This innovative Labaqua solution was supplied by STA, which belongs to the SUEZ group, in cooperation with Danish company BBK Bio AirClean.

The problem

The biological and physicochemical processes carried out at waste treatment facilities generate a number of compounds in the air, such as ammonia, mercaptans and other volatile organic compounds with a significant odour load. These compounds basically have their origins in the organic matter contained in the waste.

In order to provide optimal working conditions for staff, the buildings at the Ecoparc are fitted with a comprehensive ventilation system that sends the emissions generated to the emissions treatment system.

An odour control system needs to be extremely efficient in order to reduce the impact of the waste treatment process on the environment. In this specific case, the relevant authorities stipulated that for an odour emission to be considered innocuous, the odour concentration had to be lower than 1,000 uoE/m3, or the efficiency of the odour control system had to be higher than 95%.

Bearing in mind the large streams treated at this facility and the stringent environmental demands imposed by the authorities, biofiltration was identified as the most suitable emissions treatment in this case. Two scrubber systems to clean the acid gases are installed prior to the biofilters for the purpose of reducing ammonia concentrations in the emissions with the highest loads, which come from the composting process.

The solution: Advanced Biofiltration technology

However, the conventional biofiltration system was insufficient to achieve compliance with the stipulated environmental requirements and this system also required very intensive maintenance work. In order to solve the two problems, it was decided in 2007 to replace this system with Advanced Biofiltration technology supplied by Labaqua, a company belonging to SUEZ AdvancedSolutions. Since the installation and commissioning of this system, the Ecoparc de Barcelona has complied with the stipulated environmental requirements, with odour concentrations of less than 1,000 uoE/m3.

Advanced Biofiltration technology, developed by Danish company BBK Bio AirClean, can be considered the best available technology (BAT) for the treatment of odour emissions. With this technology, it is possible to achieve consistent final odour concentrations of less than 500 – 1000 uoE/m3.

This technology is based on a support with a far higher density of specifically inoculated microorganisms than conventional organic biofilters, which enables full compliance with the most stringent odour emissions limits.

The advanced biofilter media support consists of two phases, one inorganic and the other organic.

  • The inorganic phase with high porosity and geometric regularity provides a very homogeneous, robust mechanical structure with low head loss.
  • The organic phase is pre-sterilised to provide adequate support for the microorganisms, which are subsequently inoculated.

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Cristina Muñoz
Account Manager SUEZ Advanced Solutions España
Javier Carrillo de Albornoz
Director of Industrial Markets, SUEZ Advanced Solutions España
Silvia Nadal
Product Manager Labaqua – Air Quality
Isidre Lorenzo
Business Development – Air Quality

Article published in: FuturENVIRO #34 October2016