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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Higher pH and faster decomposition in biowaste composting by increased aeration

Sundberg, C.; Jonsson, H.


Composting of source separated municipal biowaste has at several plants in Scandinavia been hampered by low pH. In this study the hypothesis that increased aeration would improve the process was tested in full-scale experiments at two large composting plants. The O-2 concentrations were high (>15%) even at the low aeration rates, so the prevailing low pH was not due to an anaerobic process environment. In spite of this, increased aeration rates at the start of the process resulted in higher microbial activity, increased pH and a more stable compost product. At one plant the decomposition rate varied in proportion to the aeration rate, to the extent that the temperatures and O-2 concentrations were similar during the early processes even though aeration rates varied between 10 and 50 m(3)/(h, m(3) Compost). However, increased aeration caused severe drying of the compost, but at one plant the addition of water was adequate to prevent drying. In conclusion, by increasing the aeration rates and adding water to compensate for drying, it was possible to shorten the time needed to produce a stable compost product and thus to increase the efficiency of the composting plants. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Published in

Waste Management
2008, Volume: 28, number: 3, pages: 518-526