ORSA project

The ORSA research project, developed in partnership with the Faculty of Engineering of Catania and Kore of Messina, is a project for the development of solutions for advanced energy and environmental monitoring systems.

ORSA: Odor Recognition Spectral Analysis

ORSA is an innovative experimental project (first and only of its kind) that has as its primary objective the realization of a system that allows the research, through the combined use of thermal and spectral analysis techniques, of correlation elements between the spectral reflectivity of an object and its odorous properties.

Braga Moro will be the first to integrate the entire ORSA solution, providing, at the same time, the control and activation hw platforms (also for the eventual actuators and drives of electromechanical devices to inhibit odors) and the sw of managment of the environmental parameters that together the spectral and thermal video components (coming from sensors and cameras) will represent all the information that will be analyzed in the main intent of the same project. On the other hand, a project like ORSA will allow Braga Moro to consolidate, on the one hand, prototype projects already developed in the field of "element management", expanding, on the other, the field of action towards the world of artificial vision .

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Experiment with innovative techniques for detecting odors (thermal-multispetrial analysis), using technological solutions already tested in other operational contexts
  • Define "best practices" for the detection and preventive elimination of odors (bad)
  • Improve (at least in part) the quality and livability in complex areas where there are industrial settlements and landfills

Today the phenomenon of "bad smell" detected in the areas adjacent to the selection and storage of waste platforms (so-called landfills) is a subject very felt by citizens, administrations and bodies responsible for supervision and control (such as for example 'Harp).

The design measures, often, are not sufficient on their own to manage the phenomenon in its complexity; in this context, the detection, prevention and abatement activities become, therefore, fundamental components in the management of the operations of these landfills.

In particular, this last aspect, has contributed to the development of a rapidly expanding sector in recent years, thanks to the experimentation of new technologies and the discovery of inhibiting agents able to attenuate the "effect".

The elimination of odors, however, is a technique that is predominantly CORRECTIVE, or that acts when the phenomenon has already manifested itself. This actually exposes the "bad smells generators" (landfills) to management issues - which often turn into heavy penalties and loss of productivity (temporary closure of the site).

Therefore, the need arises to concentrate on finding solutions that operate primarily in a preventive rather than a predictive perspective; solutions able, that is to detect the phenomenon from the first events in order to "intervene in time".

The ORSA project will therefore concentrate its Research and Development activity in the identification of commercial solutions based on modern techniques of prediction and prediction of phenomena.

The solutions that we intend to study and deepen are those based on spectral analysis.

Scientific research has already shown that radiation absorption of each substance depends (varies) as a function of wavelength (ie frequency).

It follows that at the "absorption peaks" it is possible to trigger thermal phenomena that can give rise to changes in state (vaporization) which are the main cause of an odorigenic phenomenon.

Therefore, observing an area from the "spectral" point of view and correlating its results with the spectral responses of substances with a high hedonic tone, can give us a qualitative and quantitative indication of the level of "bad odors" present in a given area.

The completely natural phenomenon is exploited so that an object hit by a light beam absorbs only a part of the light, while another part is reflected. The amount of light absorbed is the one whose wavelengths are equal to the vibrational motions of the bonds of the molecules that make up the affected matter. A measurement of the absorbed light spectrum can, therefore, provide unique information on the environment being examined.

The technique to be used in the ORSA project is that which in the literature is known as "NIR spectroscopy".

The wavelengths NIR (Near InfraRed ") range from 1.1 to 2.5 μm and are equivalent to the energies with which the characteristic groups of the organic molecules vibrate. The NIR spectral analysis is therefore extremely valid for identifying organic substances and providing both quantitative and qualitative information. It is based on the following physical characteristics:

  • all organic substances show a strong absorption in the regions of the spectrum identified by the wavelengths 2.35 μm, 1.75 μm, and 1.35 μm (often also in the 1.2 μm region).
  • the interval [0.25 μm - 2.5 μm] is, for numerous organic compounds, a "spectral fingerprint region". The analysis in this interval allows to identify at least the group to which the various chemical compounds belong

The advantages in using NIR spectroscopy lie in the fact that the Earth's surface is at such frequencies illuminated by the sun and the atmosphere is largely transparent for this band of incident radiation.

The ORSA project therefore plans to perform a measurement of odor emissions through a spectral analysis aimed at identifying the chemical composition of the area under examination.

The osmogenic potential (odor generation) of a compound certainly depends on subjective factors (physiological and psychological) that must be taken into account. But it also depends on other measurable factors such as:

Objective (proper of the substance):

  • Volatility: The volatility of compounds, quantifiable in terms of vapor pressure, is a fundamental parameter in estimating the ability of a substance to cause an odor.
  • Solubility: An odor can only be detected when a gaseous molecule dissolves in the olfactory mucosa and manages to bind to a receptor.
  • Intensity: Intensity is a measure of the magnitude of the sensation that the stimulus generates and is clearly dependent on the smell and the individual who feels it.

Environmental (temperature, pressure, air humidity, wind)

The measurement and correlation of the objective and environmental parameters will have to allow the ORSA project to perceive in advance the onset of problems (the so-called "Perceptibility threshold") related to the generation of "bad smells" and to take the necessary countermeasures in good time. These measurements will be carried out with high quality instrumentation, using the most modern technologies available today. In particular:

  • spectral mapping of the territory will be carried out with very high resolution cameras in order to maximize the level of discrimination of substances;
  • the thermal mapping of the territory will be performed with thermal cameras with absolute measurements in order to allow an absolute temperature reading
  • data acquisition will have to be carried out from a perpendicular point of view, therefore the use of drones for this type of need will be tested