in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

  • jmr
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in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Has anyone used in-vessel composting systems for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) - excluding composting toilets? There are many different designs and I'm interested in systems that are simple and low cost (aren't we all), but could be scaled to any size.

Jonathan Rivin, PhD
Sustainable Materials Management Specialist
World Environmental Consulting
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi Jonathan,

Welcome back to the Forum! :-)
Could you please explain a bit more what you mean here by "in-vessel composting systems for faecal waste"? I looked up on Wikipedia what "in-vessel composting" refers to. According to Wikipedia it is ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-vessel_composting ):

In-vessel composting generally describes a group of methods that which confine the composting materials within a building, container, or vessel.[1] In-vessel composting systems can consist of metal or plastic tanks or concrete bunkers in which air flow and temperature can be controlled, using the principles of a "bioreactor". Generally the air circulation is metered in via buried tubes that allow fresh air to be injected under pressure, with the exhaust being extracted through a biofilter, with temperature and moisture conditions monitored using probes in the mass to allow maintenance of optimum aerobic decomposition conditions.

Is that a good description? (Or should the article be improved?)

What would you want to use it for?

Could a vermifilter be set up for in-vessel composting? (see new Wikipedia article on it, set up by Dean Satchell who also writes on the Forum: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermifilter )

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hello
There are many ways to go about this. You can see examples here where fecal matter is shrunk over decades since it is the primary way that pathogens travel into the environment if not processed ... it makes plantnutrients available as an odorfree pathogen-free liquid. see www.compostera.co.uk
The strategy is explained here www.smarttoilet.se
Best
Carl

Enclosed Long-Term Composting Toilets and Greywater treatment ( www.greywater.com )
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  • jmr
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Elisabeth

The in-vessel definition Wikipedia is basically correct, but too narrow in scope. I will have to add my 2 (or maybe 3) cents worth in an update. My interest in in-vessel composting systems is on a larger scale, and thus the reason in my inquiry I added the caveat of excluding composting toilets (such as the Compostera/SmartToilet mentioned by Carl). Important benefits to in-vessel composting (compared to windrow compost piles) are generally more efficient process, better biosecurity, reduced emissions of toxic/noxious/GHG gases, increased nutrient content of final product and reduced health risk to workers. In-vessel systems come in a variety of designs and sizes, and can be simple or high tech. Often there is a turning mechanism/feature for mixing the compost, which would preclude the use of vermifilters, as agitating worms is harmful to their productivity. Otherwise, vermifilters (ie, vermicomposting)could be used as an in-vessel system, although there will probably be disagreement as to the definition of "in-vessel".

In my initial inquiry I wanted to know whether anyone had used or is using in-vessel systems to compost faecal wastes on a large scale, as I'm interested in why or why not were such systems successful. As many communities in less developed countries are trying to improve their handling of faecal wastes, these systems may be an option. I will emphasize the word option, as each situation needs to be evaluated.

At this point I am only aware that is using an in-vessel system. I contacted Laura Kimani from Sanergy in Kenya, concerning the picture of a large piece of equipment in her presentation at FSM3 in January 2015 entitled Sanergy, Sustainable Sanitation in Urban Slums, that you inquired as to whether it was for composting. That is confirmed. It is an in-vessel composter for composting faecal wastes, but I'm still trying to obtain more information. I'll keep you posted.

Jonathan

Jonathan Rivin, PhD
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World Environmental Consulting
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi all,

I am Anu Thomas.I am newly joined to this forum.
I am really interested in fecal sludge composting. I am using in-vessel composting systems for the co-composting of fecal waste. Our team could able to retrieve good quality compost out of that waste with in few days using n-vessel composting.

The final product was found to be pathogen-free, phytotoxins-free and have with enough nutrient content. So that it can substitute the chemical fertilizers in the market.

Regards,
Anu Thomas
PhD Research Scholar
India
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Jonathan: FYI we composted municipal garbage and sewage sludge in Sweden (EPA research where I worked) through a French compostReactor called Carel-Fouché.
globalenvironmental.biz/downloads/composting_reactors.pdf
They seem to work fine (except ours exploded due to someone had added an old gasoline tank wrapped in black plastic garbage bags) The problems were generally not mechanical but unpredictability of what the "compost" contained.
Carl

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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi Anu and welcome,
Can you expand a bit on what the process is ?
Cheers
Carl

Enclosed Long-Term Composting Toilets and Greywater treatment ( www.greywater.com )
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi
I've worked in organic waste recycling for a number of years using both in-vessel composting and AD. You can not successfully compost faecal waste on it's own. Composting is an aerobic process and there needs to be porosity in the composting material to allow the air to pass through. Faecal material is normally too wet and solid to allow the air to pass through. It ends up going anaerobic and smelling. It can be composted but it needs to be mixed with other materials to give it structure, e.g. twigs, woody material. Both Anu and Carl allude to the faecal material being mixed or co-composted with other things.

In-vessel composting tends not to be cheap to build or run because of the need to blow the air through the material, and if doing it on scale, needs a mechanism to turn/move it in and out of the vessels. VCU (vertical composting units) were making in-vessel composting units that, as far as I remember, didn't need to turn the material and the sir was drawn up through convection.

Not sure if this helps.

Lynn
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi all,

@ Carl:
In-vessel composting includes any forms of composting done in enclosure. The composting might be agitated, turned or force-aerated. It can be carried out in bins, silos, rotary drums etc.
@ Lynn:
Its true that the faecal sludge alone cannot be composted due to dense and moist nature. What you have said is correct.
We actually co-composted the faecal sludge with mixed organic waste and added bulking materials for excess moisture removal. We could also able to maintain the porosity by the addition of structural materials like wood chips. Aeration is made by passive (natural) and active (forced) modes.
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Anu

I am interested in the system you are using. Could you provide more details. You may also contact me via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jonathan Rivin, PhD
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World Environmental Consulting
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

Hi,

Sorry for the late reply

The in-vessel system, which I am using is nothing but a normal vertical drum, having a capacity of 60 liters which could able to treat a waste of 25 kgs.

For aeration we provided holes all around the drum or could give forced aeration through one port.

We use this system for co-composting for both fecal sludge and organic waste.

And proved to be effective in solving the looming fecal sludge management problems...

Regards,

Anu
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Re: in-vessel composting for faecal waste (or any other organic wastes) ?

No problem. But several questions. For either types of wastes used, do you mix the wastes during the composting process? And was this system used for a pilot study only or is it currently being used in communities?

Jonathan

Jonathan Rivin, PhD
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World Environmental Consulting
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