What are they?

An aerosol is a suspension of particles, whether liquid or solid, within a gas. They may be organic or inorganic in origin.

Aerosols of organic origin tend to be liquids in suspension, commonly VOCs.

Those of inorganic origin tend to be solids in suspension. Often, they originate from waste incineration, which generates solid particles during combustion.

However, they can be generated by nature as well as human activity. In nature, they can be the result of volcanic eruptions, natural fires, sandstorms, etc. In terms of human activity, they are principally generated through the burning of fuel and the incineration of waste.

Problems caused by aerosols

As organic aerosols are VOCs, a number of different technologies can be applied. The most suitable treatment will depend on the flow, concentration and composition of the VOCs. Options include RCO and RTO.

For inorganic aerosols, which usually take the form of particles in suspension, the most suitable technology is filtration. There are baghouse filters that can capture the solid particles and thereby clean the air.

Commonly, these particles are classified by size and assigned a particular number, such as PM10 (PM = particulate matter). The number 10 refers to the aerodynamic diameter of the particle in microns (μm). The filtration capacity required depends on the size of the particles.

Which industrial sectors are affected?

A wide range of industrial sectors are affected by aerosols. With regard to VOCs, those most affected include the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, paint, coating and construction industries, along with storage tank facilities.

With regard to inorganic aerosols, the sectors most affected include the waste incineration and heavy fuel industries.

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