Plants May Mitigate VOC Threats
Indoor air could be cleaner with the right plant species
Certain plants could help mitigate the harmful effects of VOCs in indoor air, a new study suggests. The use of plants to lower VOC concentrations in closed spaces isn’t new –
NASA began studying the option in 1984, discovering that plants absorb the airborne
VOCs with their leaves and roots – but a new approach involves comparing the rate
at which multiple VOCs are simultaneously absorbed by a selection of five popular
plants, rather than focusing on one type of VOC or individual plant species.
Vadoud Niri, a researcher at State University of New York at Oswego who led the
study, built a sealed chamber containing specific concentrations of several common VOCs and monitored the levels over several hours with and without certain
types of plants in the chamber. The research team then determined which VOCs the
plant absorbed, how quickly the chemicals were removed from the air and the total
amount of VOCs removed by the end of the experiment.
The team found that certain plants were better at absorbing specific compounds.
For example, all five plants removed acetone from the air, but the dracaena plant
absorbed roughly 94% of the airborne acetone in the chamber.
“Based on our results, we can recommend what plants are good for certain types
of VOCs and for specific locations,” Niri
explains. “The bromeliad plant was very
good at removing six out of eight studied
VOCs – it was able to take up more than
80% of each of those compounds over
the 12-hour sampling period. It could be
a good plant to have sitting around in the
household or workplace.”
The research was presented to the
American Chemical Society.
Kroger Turns Waste into Energy
Anaerobic treatment creates biogas from food byproducts
Anew anaerobic wastewater treatment system will soon turn food byproducts into energy at K.B. Specialty Foods’ Greensburg, IN facility.
The company produces deli salads, cake icing and
refrigerated side dishes and is affiliated with the
Kroger Company, which operates nearly 3,000 retail
food stores. Its current wastewater treatment system
is open to the air, but the new one will feature a
dome that captures biogas from microorganisms transforming food production products. The collected biogas is harnessed to generate electricity, which is then sent to
the plant’s electrical grid.
The plant will also improve air quality in the area, the Kroger Company notes. The
organization expects the new system to be operational by summer 2017 and aims to
become a zero waste company by 2020.
BROMELIADS REMOVED 80% OF THE
CONCENTRATION of six out of eight
VOCs from the air in a recent study.