Eradicating nasty niffs and dangerous dust particles

Written by: RWW | Published:

Although it’s a cliché to refer to a company as the ‘industry’s best kept secret’ it’s difficult to describe dust and odour suppression specialist, APPS UK, as anything else. Darren Cornforth tells Geraldine Faulkner why, and explains how he has no time for some dust and odour companies who don’t ‘walk the walk’.

Darren Cornforth has recently joined Peterborough-based APPS UK and he tells RWW that the only problem he has with the company is that “they have so much success, they’re not telling anyone especially as they get all their work from recommendations.”

Well, it sounds like a problem that many other companies would give their eye teeth to have.

“The company sticks with the client from start to finish and invests so much time and money into a customer, they never lose them,” adds the consultant.

So what exactly does APPS UK do and which sectors does it focus on in waste management?

“We offer solutions and application equipment to reduce the dust and gases and we work with sectors within the waste industry such as refuse derived fuel (RDF), solid recovered fuel (SRF), landfill sites and waste transfer stations; namely sites that generate any form of dust and gases and which have to be eradicated,” explains Cornforth.

Offensive odours are not to be taken lightly and have been known to shut down facilities faster than you can say ‘nasty niffs’. 

“Offensive odours are gases which travel at thousands of kilometres an hour,” states Cornforth before adding: “Try this out. Put a container with something very smelly inside a room with little or no air movement, remove the lid and move to the opposite side of the room. It will not be long before you can smell it.”

Airborne 10

The ‘secret’ weapon in the company’s arsenal is a technology that goes by the name of Airborne 10 and which was invented by APPS UK’s chairman, Jim Edgar. Airborne 10 is a biodegradable absorption technology that increases the absorbency of water by 500% and reduces pollutant molecules. 

Now here comes the ‘techie’ part of the APPS UK story when it comes to the effectiveness of their misting technology.

The product is a surfactant induced absorption technology (SIAT) that alters the solubility and the effective area or interface of the water droplet it produces. 

Airborne 10 is said to achieve this by having its hydrophilic (water loving) end in the water and its hydrophobic (water hating) end in air. 

This means that a 50 micron droplet with a surface area of 7,855 square microns and effective volume of 65,458 cubic microns then acquires an area of 39,275,000 square microns and an effective volume of 8,182,227 cubic microns with which to combat the offending pollutant molecules.

Essentially, Airborne 10 absorbs odours and dust.

Cornforth again: “The bigger the effective volume and the area of the droplets used in our misting systems, the more effective they are at catching the pollution molecules. 

“The mass of our water droplet is huge in comparison to pollution molecules and is just about floating in the air. Hydrogen sulphide, for example, has an atomic mass of 34.08. This means that it is less than 1,000,000,000th the size of our 50 micron droplet.” 

Even a very big pollutant molecule like Skatole (a mildly toxic white crystalline organic compound belonging to the indole family which occurs naturally in faeces and coal tar and has a strong fecal odour) with a molecular weight of 131.17 is said to be very small by comparison when it collides with Airborne 10 droplets. 

By colliding, the pollution molecules are caught by forming a solute. This makes the droplets heavier so they drop to the ground where they are broken down by the natural bacteria present. “A lot of chemicals simply mask pollutants and do not bring them down,” adds Cornforth who has strong opinions about some companies in the dust and odour suppression sector who ‘talk the talk’, but in his opinion don’t ‘walk the walk’.

“My concern is there are companies who send in reps who don’t understand the client’s processes. They are keen to sell the customer application equipment, get the money and then simply replenish them with chemicals. 

“They have a lack of understanding of their own equipment, sell chemicals that merely try to mask smells and do not focus on what would best suit the client’s needs. 

“We then get called in and it puts us on the back foot until we can gain the customer’s confidence,” explains the consultant.

Stepping into the breach

He points out that the company is currently working with a number of companies in the UK and overseas to sort out issues where other applications are failing. 

“Money is also being wasted,” warns Cornforth. “It is being wasted on wrongly positioned equipment that will result in higher chemical usages and costs.” He points to one particular client who has spent what he deems to be a considerable amount of money to take odours problems away but which have failed. 

“We checked all the odour drop zones with the customer while he was still running the neutraliser that was failing to do the job, and we could still smell the problem he was encountering. 

“Once we switched over to Airborne 10 the result was instant, and that was just by using a fraction of what he was using of the chemical that was failing. So we just didn’t eliminate the odour, we are also saving the company money.”

On the subject of money, APPS UK also offers clients the guarantee that if they are not able to resolve an odour issue, they will refund the customer their capital equipment costs.

APPS UK is also investing in the future.

“We are a growing company. We’ve bought a new facility in Huntingdon that includes a large storage space, manufacturing area and R&D department and we have our own laboratory where we are constantly carrying out research. We are also looking at expanding our operation into Scotland and Ireland.”

Watch this space. It looks as if the dust and odour suppression sector’s best kept secret is not going to be a secret for much longer, not if Cornforth has his way. 

Fact File: APPS UK systems

Rotary systems

Whether it comprises an inside or outside environment the rotary atomiser is designed for applications that require fine liquid droplets to be projected into the atmosphere. Using a high speed, compact atomiser to break up liquid, the fan disperses mist over large areas. APPS offers two types of rotaries. The first is mainly used for inside applications where the amount of liquid and size of droplet is said to be critical. This unit spins up to 32000rpm and will produce a droplet of 40 micron thus preventing any moisture reaching the floor under normal ambient conditions. The second unit is reported to be more suited to outside or more changeable conditions and uses a slower spinning motor that produces a larger droplet size. In each case the rotaries use a maximum of 20 litres of water per hour depending on the application with a dosage rate using Airborne 10 of only 0.5% vol/vol. This equates to a running cost of approx. £1 per hour. APPS UK say that if this is compared this with rotaries using masking agents, the normal usage is something in the order of 100 litres of water per hour and dosing rates of 2-10% vol/vol.

Air assisted nozzles

APP UK’s air atomising nozzle is a self-clean non-drip completely stainless steel unit, which, according to APPS UK, means very low maintenance and no corrosion. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee. They are used on perimeters as well as in internal environments. 

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