Home About Browse Search

Greenhouse gas emissions from food and garden waste composting

effects of management and process conditions

Ermolaev, Evgheni (2015). Greenhouse gas emissions from food and garden waste composting. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2015:44
ISBN 978-91-576-8286-4
eISBN 978-91-576-8287-1
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF


Composting is a robust waste treatment technology. Use of finished compost enables plant nutrient recycling, carbon sequestration, soil structure improvement and mineral fertiliser replacement. However, composting also emits greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) with high global warming potential (GWP).

This thesis analysed emissions of CH₄ and N₂O during composting as influenced by management and process conditions and examined how these emissions could be reduced. The GHG emissions from home-scale, large-scale and reactor composting were determined. At small scale, 18 home compost units were analysed over one year. At large scale, the effects of aeration strategies on emissions were studied in 10-20 m long windrow composts. Finally, reactor composting was studied in two sets of experiments under a controlled laboratory environment to investigate the influence of specific process conditions on CH₄ and N₂O emissions.

Methane emissions increased almost 1000-fold when moisture content in the compost substrate increased from about 44% to 66% in the reactor. Moreover, CH₄ emissions increased 100-fold as a result of poor aeration. In home composting CH₄ emissions were low, but increased with temperature, mixing frequency and moisture. In windrow composting, high CH₄ emissions were associated with thermophilic temperatures and large moisture gradients. Moisture content from about 44% to 59% significantly affected N₂O emissions in the reactor studies, with N₂O emissions increasing at lower moisture. The presence of nitrate in the initial substrate resulted in an early N₂O emissions peak in reactor composting. Extended composting period during some reactor runs resulted in higher total GHG emissions due to continued production of both CH₄ and N₂O late in the process, after 50% of initial carbon had been mineralised.

Total direct GHG emissions from home and windrow composting systems, assessed based on their GWP, were similar to or lower than those reported by others, while emissions from most composting reactor runs were lower. To reduce CH₄ emissions, composting at a combination of high moisture and high temperature should be avoided. To reduce N₂O emissions, extremes of moisture content in the compost matrix should be avoided.

Authors/Creators:Ermolaev, Evgheni
Title:Greenhouse gas emissions from food and garden waste composting
Subtitle:effects of management and process conditions
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :20 May 2015
Depositing date:21 May 2015
Number of Pages:78
IErmolaev, E., Sundberg, C., Pell, M. & Jönsson, H. (2014). Greenhouse gas emissions from home composting in practice. Bioresource Technology 151, 174-182.
IIErmolaev, E., Pell, M., Smårs, S., Sundberg, C. & Jönsson, H. (2012). Greenhouse gas emission from covered windrow composting with controlled ventilation. Waste Management & Research 30(2), 155-160.
IIIErmolaev, E., Jarvis, Å., Sundberg, C., Smårs, S., Pell, M. & Jönsson, H. (2015). Nitrous oxide and methane emissions from food waste composting at different temperatures (manuscript). Submitted.
IVErmolaev, E., Sundberg, C., Pell, M., Smårs, S. & Jönsson, H. (2015). Effects of moisture on emissions of CH₄, N₂O and CO₂ from food and garden waste composting (manuscript).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8286-4
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8287-1
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:Q Food science > Q70 Processing of agricultural wastes
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Climate Research
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 2 Engineering and Technology > 207 Environmental Engineering > Environmental Management
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Agrovoc terms:composting, greenhouse gases, methane emission, moisture, temperature, nitrogen, aeration
Keywords:methane, nitrous oxide, moisture, temperature, aeration
Permanent URL:
ID Code:12223
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
External funders:FORMAS and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning
Deposited By: Evgheni Ermolaev
Deposited On:21 May 2015 14:12
Metadata Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 13:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics