Emission of carbon monoxide during composting of municipal solid waste

Elevated carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were observed at the enclosed municipal waste composting facility (ECF) in Edmonton, Canada. Elevated CO concentrations in an enclosed facility pose a potential health risk to workers. This study assessed spatiotemporal CO emission variability from ECF composting bays using Fourier Transform IR (FTIR) spectroscopy; and identified correlations between CO emission rate and compost physicochemical properties using bench-scale incubation experiments. Repeated gas measurements were made above and within the ECF compost bed using a probe connected to an FTIR gas analyser, which continuously collected concentration data. Preliminary field measurements showed maximum CO concentrations of 112 íL/L within the compost. Autoclaved and non-sterilised ECF compost samples were incubated under aerobic and hypoxic conditions and gas emissions were quantified by gas chromatography. The authors concluded that these trials showed a positive correlation between CO emission rate and incubation temperature for all samples, indicating a physicochemical source of CO generation. Lower CO concentrations were observed in non-sterilised compost under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, presumably due to microbial CO metabolism.

Authors: Phillip, E. A.; Clark, O. G.; Londry, K.; Yu, S.; Leonard, J. ;Full Source: Compost Science & Utilisation 2011, 19(3), 170-177 (Eng) ;