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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 12 No. 2, p. 219-224
    Received: Feb 18, 1982

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Laboratory Composter for Simulation Studies1

  1. L. J. Sikora,
  2. M. A. Ramirez and
  3. T. A. Troeschel2



A self-heating laboratory composter comprised of a covered, double-walled, insulated tank containing water, an air-tight cylinder submerged in the tank, an inner screen mesh cylinder that held the organic material, a heater-circulator, and a differential temperature control system was built and tested for use in studies simulating the biochemical changes that occur during composting. A mixture of raw, limed sewage sludge and woodchips was composted, and the weight-loss data obtained were similar to that from the pilot plant composting facility at Beltsville, Md. The mixture lost 33% of its wet weight, and 9% of its dry weight during 28–50 d of composting. Six to ten percent of the total N was lost. There were two major temperature peaks, which correlated with CO2 increases. Peak NH3 evolution occurred when CO2 evolution decreased. All preliminary data indicate that the laboratory composter provides a comparable simulation of a large composting facility.

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