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ENERGY AND MASS BALANCES OF WINDROW COMPOSTING SYSTEM

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. VOL. 43(5): 1253-1259 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.3019) @2000
Authors:   R. Robinzon, E. Kimmel, Y. Avnimelech
Keywords:   Composting, Municipal solid waste, Windrow, Heat and mass balance, Organic matter, Decomposition

Pile composting is the most commonly used method in composting today. Heat and water balances quantification was conducted in three different windrows in a commercial Municipal Solid Waste composting plant in Israel. The windrows differ in the turning frequencies and in the supplied water amounts. The measured data included temperature, water content, and volatile solids to total mass ratio.Turning frequency is found to enlarge the total volatile mass decomposed. Increasing the frequency from non-turned to turned-every-five-days doubles the total volatile mass decomposed, while a further rise to once-a-day turning accounts for only 17% rise in the total volatile mass decomposed. In order to maintain a water content of about 40% in the two turned windrows, a greater amount of water (about 45%) was required in the once-a-day turned windrow. The energy accumulation term was found to be negligible when compared to the heat input and heat output terms. The energy generation is due to the microorganisms activity, and found to be about 2700 kJ/kg over the entire experiment period (50 days). Energy output is due to heat removal from the windrow surface through water evaporation (about 70%), radiation (about 20%), and convection (about 10%). Of the three different mechanisms which compose the total water mass evaporation in windrows 1 and 2, 56% to 79% of the water evaporates from the windrow surface, 21% to 31% evaporated via air flow by natural ventilation, and only 6% to 10% is attributed to windrow turning.

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