New Process for Addressing Mercaptan Odor in Fuels


A respected Houston-based entrepreneur, Todd Pencarinha guides Altiras Recovery, LLC, as its president and focuses on innovation-driven processes for the beneficial reuse of fuel and chemical byproducts and co-products. In early 2016, Todd Pencarinha and his team announced the creation of a new treatment process for deodorizing light fuel products that contain mercaptans.

Also known as methanethiols, mercaptans are foul smelling but harmless organic substance comprised of hydrogen, carbon, and sulfur. Found naturally in the human body and other living organisms, mercaptans are generated naturally through a metabolic process that create bodily waste. The putrid odor of mercaptans has been described as similar to rotting cabbages.

Mercaptans are frequently used in industrial processes to add the distinctive putrid odor to hazardous gases with little or no odor, such as natural gas, for safety purposes. Humans can detect mercaptans in industrial processes in quantities as small as one part per billion. Because of this low odor threshold, recyclers who recover products containing mercaptans must have effective methods to treat them.

Mr. Pencarinha indicated that this treatment methodology will allow Altiras Recovery to address a supplier’s mercaptan issues, which previously required the disposal of many light fuel-blend stocks with a strong odor.