1887

Minimisation of odour from composting of food waste through process optimisation

A Nordic collaboration project

image of Minimisation of odour from composting of food waste through process optimisation

Composting of food waste often causes problematic odour emissions. This project develops recommendations to minimise the risk of odour problems and to achieve an efficient process and a high and uniform product quality. Three full-scale plants and one experimental reactor were investigated. The results show a strong correlation between pH and odour emissions, temperature and decomposition rate are also important factors. The main recommendation to reduce odour problems is to control the process so that pH increased rapidly, without increase of temperature, either through ventilation or by addition of compost or wood ash with high pH. Water may contribute to control temperature. Food waste is high energetic and a large amount of energy is released during composting. If energy is used to evaporate water, the compost will be kept cool. The amount of water in food waste is usually not sufficient to allow adequate evaporation and cooling. It should therefore be possible to add water to the process to help control of temperature end pH. The original report, in Swedish, is published at http://www.avfallsverige.se/m4n?oid=2399&_locale=1

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Background

Large-scale composting of source-separated household waste has been greatly expanded in recent years in the Nordic countries and a certain degree of expansion is expected to continue. However, the expansion and operation of waste composting systems are considerably hindered by the fact that many plants receive numerous complaints about unpleasant odours. The Nordic countries have similar waste, source-separated household waste, which for most of the year consists solely of food waste. The composition of waste in the Nordic countries and the colder climate are unique for Europe and therefore experiences from e.g. Germany are not directly transferable to Nordic composting processes.

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