Author(s): Barrington S, Choinire D, Trigui M, Knight W
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Abstract For composting, passive aeration can save energy costs while being just as efficient as forced or active aeration. Passive aeration requires the proper design of aeration ducts, and thus, the proper prediction of the convective airflow rates created by the temperature differential between the compost and the ambient air. To establish such relationship, the temperature and convective air flow regimes of composts were investigated using three bulking agents (wood shavings, hay and straw), each at three moisture contents (MC-60\%, 65\% and 70\%) spanning the normal values. All bulking agent and aeration treatments were aerated in duplicate under passive and active regimes. Laboratory vessels of 105 L were used for all treatments. Passive aeration treatments produced temperatures above 57 degrees C, as did the treatments actively aerated at 4 mg of air s(-1) kg(-1) of initial dry compost material. Compost MC had an effect only on the peak compost temperature, occurring between day 2 and 6. After 6 days of composting, MC no longer had any effect on temperature regime because of the loss of moisture by each mixture. A relationship was established between the Grasholf number (Gr-ratio of buoyancy to viscous forces) and the convective airflow rates, to size the aeration ducts for passive aeration. In general, convective airflow rates ranged from 1.5 to 0.7 mg of dry air s(-1) kg(-1) of initial compost dry matter, from day 0 to day 20, respectively, and for all compost treatments. This airflow rate sizes the aeration ducts installed under compost piles for passive aeration. As compared to straw where airflow rate dropped over a given level of Gr, wood shavings and hay were found to be more effective as bulking agents, as their airflow rate increased constantly with Gr.
This article was published in Bioresour Technol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation