Dr Radoslaw Barczak

OdourCOB project description

Warsaw University of Technology (Warsaw, Poland) in collaboration with University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)

Dr Radosław Barczak is currently a visiting academic at the UNSW Odour Laboratory and will be in Sydney to the 15th October 2016. He is fellow of Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship for Career Development. The aim of the project entitled “OdourCOB – Odour Characterization of Odorants from Biosolids” is to identify the major contributing odorants produced from wastewater biosolids to odour annoyance.

He received a master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the Warsaw University of Technology in 2003 after which he start work in the Department of Waste Management in Polish Ministry of the Environment. After 2 years in the administration he decided to back to University where receiving his PhD in 2014. Over the last 7 years, he has developed practical and theoretical experience in environmental science and technology, especially focused in odour. He compared different measurements methods using especially at wastewater treatment plants.

During his PhD Study in the frame of the project “Warsaw University of Technology Development Programme” he received individual four months scholarship co-financed by European Social Found. Science unit host was Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica “Giulio Natta”, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. During this period he works on validation of a method for odor sampling on solid area sources.

The aim of the project OdourCOB is to identify the major contributing odorants produced from wastewater biosolids to odour annoyance. In order to achieve this goal a range of different treatments of domestic sewage at the wastewater facilities will be characterized using GC-MS/O to determine the olfactory impact of odours in terms of their odour character and intensity. Statistical analysis, chemometric methods and multidimensional data analysis techniques to discriminate and identify the major contributing odorants will be utilized. In that research GC-MS/O system will be used for separation, isolation and identification of compounds from biosolids treatment facilities. The combine analytical and data analysis techniques will enable the establishment of specific odour fingerprints for the different unit processes as well as variations due to sludge variability and operating conditions.

Due to laboratory's background in sensory evaluation of odorants and the instrumentation available for the analysis of odours the Researchers are going to determine relationship between chemical composition and odour character. It assumed to confirm the hypotheses:

  1. Odorous emissions from wastewater biosolids are composed of a complex mixture of odorants.
  2. The identification of odour annoyance of wastewater biosolids can be achieved by taking into account odorant quality characters and intensity.
  3. There are a number of key odorants whose formation can be related to the operational and biochemical processes.
  4. GC-MS/O technique can characterize odours by allowing a full identification of the volatile compounds presents in the environmental emissions from both chemical and sensory viewpoints.

The achievement of the proposed project ‘‘OdourCOB’’ is possible thanks to the following sub-objectives:

  1. Odorous emissions from different sludge treatment process will be analyzed to characterize the differences in their odorant composition.
  2. Pattern recognition techniques, including simple statistical analysis with artificial neural networks will be applied with the aim of summarizing the olfactory impact of odours in terms of their character and intensity.
  3. Relationship between olfactory impact and bioprocess conditions (for instance, the age of wastewater biosolids) will be validated to define and understand olfactory nuisance and identify key odorants and/or odour fingerprints.

The project objectives will be accomplished through the execution of four work packages (WP): (1) Odorant characterization, (2) Data analysis, (3) Data interpretation and relationship, (4) Management, exploitation, networking and dissemination.

The participation of Marie Curie Fellows in the research of renowned UNSW research groups give possibility to get knowledge and experience and provide an opportunity to future collaborations between both Universities.