Minimisation of odour from composting of food waste through process optimisation

A Nordic collaboration project

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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




This project was a Nordic collaboration, where many individuals from different places and specialities contributed to the whole. The project leader was Håkan Jönsson, SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), and Erik Norgaard, Norsk Jordforbedring, was assistant project leader. The majority of the project was carried out by Cecilia Sundberg, SLU, who also wrote most of this report, with major contributions from Martin Romantschuk, University of Helsinki, and smaller contributions from Sven Smårs, SLU. Håkan Jönsson contributed by reviewing and complementing the text. Erik Norgaard and Mona Arnold, VTT, made minor but important contributions.


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