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May 2014

Refining innovative technologies

At a glance
The challenge

Industrial emissions are a major cause of air pollution globally

The solution

Ability to measure and monitor odours, mitigating when necessary

The outcome

An efficient "e-nose" which analyzes odour sources in various environments

What's next?

Refine e-nose and commercialize

Industrial emissions are a major cause of air pollution around the world. To mitigate this, most businesses install sensors in their plants to detect any gas leakage. Odotech, a Quebec based company, manufactures and commercializes patented electronic noses (e-noses) to measure and monitor odours at waste management plants, composting sites and industrial odor-producing plants. The company faced the challenge of lacking the necessary expertise to efficiently upgrade its product’s performance for different odour sources in various environments.

With the support of Pierre des Lierres, Business Development Director at Mitacs, the company obtained the financial support of Mitacs Accelerate Quebec and connected with Iban Harlouchet and Professor Pierre Lafaye de Micheaux from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Université de Montréal. Iban undertook research at Odotech to optimize algorithms of the e-nose sensors that analyze olfactory emissions.

He analysed Odotech’s immense database and searched for best scientific practices in the industry. This enabled him to discover new methods to improve Odotech’s e-nose algorithms.

 “We needed a highly qualified mathematician to help us refine algorithms that are linked to OdoWatch®, the core technology of all our products. Mitacs Accelerate Quebec helped us get the research expertise that we didn’t have in our company,” explains Guy Laliberté, Chief Operating Officer at Odotech.

Iban admits to having a wonderful first work experience in the private sector. He particularly appreciated the chance to develop his skills in statistics, programming, matrix and algorithmic calculations while working with engineers to improve the performance of the e-nose.

When asked if he would recommend Mitacs Accelerate Quebec to other students, Iban answered without hesitation, “Yes! This program offers excellent working conditions for graduate students looking for their first work experience.”

Odotech renewed Iban’s internship. He is currently performing tests to refine the algorithms and techniques he developed in the first phase of his internship. 

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Saskaychewan, and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: