Odour Monitor Annual Report 2017

News item

The 41 eNoses currently installed around the Port were purchased by Port of Amsterdam and the Province of North Holland in 2015 in order to learn more about the sources that can potentially prompt complaints about odour. The North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency monitors eNoses and publishes an annual report (in Dutch) containing its findings.

Main findings

  • The eNoses detected elevated odour concentrations a total of 419 times in 2017. Nearly 80% of these reports (more than 330 red alerts) were emitted by five eNoses.
  • Virtually no elevated signals were detected near the Port’s residential section.
  • The top 5 eNoses detected elevated concentrations mainly in the mornings (between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.) and evenings (between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays).
  • The red alerts were detected mainly in the immediate vicinity of cargo terminals for fuels (near the Amerikahaven port and the Usselincxhaven, Jan van Riebeeckhaven and Petroleumhaven ports).
  • The peaks detected may be caused by either vessels (e.g. due to cargo and pressure equalisation) or businesses (e.g. various process emissions, regular business operations, etc.). One of the reasons the majority of elevated signals were detected in these port basins is that eNoses react strongly to volatile components such as oil and fuel and less strongly to waste and foodstuffs. A second explanation is that these eNoses are located near the oil terminals, where large quantities of products are transhipped.
  • The eNoses located on the banks of the North Sea Canal in the Western Port Area detect fewer red alerts. One exception is the ZD-03 eNose, which is located relatively close to the main odour sources in the area and which is triggered when the wind blows in from the southeast or west.
  • A total of 121 complaints about odour were registered in the Western Port Area in 2017. In 74 of these cases, the North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency was able to establish which companies caused the odour; in the other cases, it was unable to do so with any degree of certainty.


The findings contained in the 2017 Annual Report indicate that a number of issues could be investigated more closely. The North Sea Canal Area Environment Agency is to examine the elevated eNose signals detected outside office hours this year. It also plans to investigate how odour complaints from local residents can be linked to the eNose alarm system more effectively.

Expanded network

The Province of North Holland will be installing 46 eNoses along the North Sea Canal and Amsterdam Rhine Canal in 2018, so as to also be able to monitor the degassing of barges in transit. Degassing for vessels in transit has been banned in North Holland Province since 2017.
The current eNose network consists of 39 static and two mobile eNoses. Several Port-based companies also operate their own eNoses. The eNose network is a learning system: increasing the number of odours recognised by the eNoses and entering these odours in the database helps to create a growing body of knowledge of the various odours in the area.