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Scheda del laboratorio:

Composter: a lab-scale composting equipment for respirometric studies

Funzionalita' del laboratorio: 

COMPOSTER is an air-forced automated device, including two 35-liters’ bioreactors, able to compost properly and in short time (about 30 days) organic residues under controlled aerobic condition. COMPOSTER simulates a real composting environment and it analyzes in real time the emissions released from the in situmicrobiota driving the biodegradation of the organic waste mixture which should be properly arranged at the beginning of the trial.

The air flow rate of each bioreactor is managed by separate mass flow controllers able to keep the oxygen concentration in the exhausted air within a chosen optimal aerobic value (>10%). Temperature of the biomass, pressure and temperature of the inlet and outlet airflow, are monitored throughout the trial as well as the weight loss of the bio-reactors placed on scales, while the concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide are recorded from the exhausted air by means of specific detectors. 

Acquisition of signals, control of actuators, remote software supervision, data elaboration and monitoring are performed by means of fit-for-purpose integration of hardware and software created in NI LabVIEW environment.

All parameters measured, except ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, are recorded, plotted and promptly displayed in tables, graphs and spreadsheets, showing on video in real time patterns of biodegradation occurring in both bioreactors.  

COMPOSTER was set-up in house by testing different organic mixtures with appropriate C/N, moisture content and porosity. 

While running a test and without stopping it, bioreactors can be easily opened to collect samples for further chemical-physical and microbiological analysis.

COMPOSTER releases a real mass balance of composting as well as a Dynamic Respiration Index (DRI) value which gives information on the on biological stability reached by the compost during the trial. 

COMPOSTER can be exploited for conducting innovative biodegradability test for synthetic compounds, like pesticides or others, evaluating a wide range of specific aerobic biodegradation scenarios (mineral soil, compost, growth media, etc).

After a short training course aiming at appropriate managing of the equipment and learning proceduresset-up by ISAFOM, COMPOSTER can be easily run by standard Lab technicians with an average education.

Servizi offerti: 

By monitoring the amount of emissions, COMPOSTER may lead to optimize those parameters which influence the release of greenhouse gases (GHG); this may help composting companies in comply the even more restrictive rules imposed by Regulators for reducing its environmental impact, thus increasing the carbon content in the end product (mature compost). Target customers: composting company 

COMPOSTER runs efficiently and in short time composting trials of wide range of organic residues thus releasing end products (mature compost) that can be exploited for specific agronomical uses, such as peat surrogate in the preparation of growth media for plant cultivation in nursery. Target customers: plant nursery.

Given its versatility, COMPOSTER can be easily adapted for running respiration tests in long term analyses under differently chosen aerobic biodegradation scenarios; target customer: private and public research institutions.

Piattaforme Tecnologiche: 

Descrizione: 
2 X GAS Mass Flow Controller - Bronkhorst (0-500 L/h)
Campo di applicazione: 
Measurement and control of the IN flow rates (one for each bio-reactor) with feed-back on Oxygen concentration
Descrizione: 
Refrigerated Bath Circulator CRB2
Campo di applicazione: 
Dehydrating exhausted air coming out from composter prior to CO2 measurement
Descrizione: 
Oxygen sensor equipped with zirconium dioxide sensing cell
Campo di applicazione: 
Measurement of O2 in the exhausted air coming out from composter
Descrizione: 
Weight scale (0-60 Kg)
Campo di applicazione: 
Measurement of weight loss for mass balance composting assessment
Descrizione: 
Oxygen sensor equipped with zirconium dioxide sensing cell
Campo di applicazione: 
Measurement of O2 in the exhausted air coming out from composter
Descrizione: 
Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
Campo di applicazione: 
Persistence of data acquisition in case of limited power supply break
Pubblicazioni: 

Altieri, R.,Federici E., Chilosi G., Esposito A., Castellani F., Stanzione V., Fidati L., Scargetta S., Montalbani E., dell’Unto D., Aleandri M.P., (2014),  SANSOIL, dagli scarti oleari un compost idoneo a sostituire la torba in vivaio, AboutPlants.eu,Pistoia, Italy.

Castellani F.; Esposito A.; Stanzione V.; Altieri R. (2015): Analysis of emissions from lab-scale composting equipment: data for a sustainability challenge. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology (CEST) 2015, September 3-5, Rhodes, Greece, pp. 1-5.  ISBN 978-960-7475-52-7

Referenze: 

COMPOSTER was designed, built and set-up in house by CNR-ISAFOM within the framework of SANSOIL project. 

Regione Toscana Agricultural Agency, Framework “Bando multimisura per progetti Integrati di Filiera (PIF), Ordinance n. 604/2011. Reg. CE 1698/05 - PSR 2007/2013”, Project: “Creazione di un nuovo ammendante, sostitutivo della torba utilizzata nel vivaismo, ottenuto dalla trasformazione degli scarti da frantoio oleario” (Making new amendments from olive mill waste as peat surrogate for potted plant production in nurseries), Acronym: SAN-SOIL, (2012-13).