Whatever its origin, the outcome of composting organic waste can result in high quality composts, rich in beneficial biota that help to make nutrients in the soil or products harmful to plants. Even following organic waste composting standards and protocols is not always a guarantee that quality compost is produced. To abide by stringent regulations and to ensure efficient and effective composting, both the temperature and moisture of the windrows must be measured constantly. With the support of the EU, the 'Novel on-line composting monitoring system' (COMPO-BALL) project developed a new system for continuous transmission of data from various points in the composting material. The product will be brought to market under the name 'SensoBall'. A set of wireless autonomous sensorseliminates the need for running wires or for operators to climb on piles several times a week to collect temperature and moisture measurements. Continuous transmission of data from sensors to a centralised location for analysis enablescomposting process in any location. Advanced electronics send out a strong signals that are received from up to 30 sensor nodes. The rigid polyrethane material used for protecting each sensor has been successfully tested to resist exposure to hostile environments. Before Sensoball, no system was available for both temperature and moisture measurements during the composting process. By observing these indicators of compost activity, users can more accurately determine when microorganisms need air and piles to be turned. This is a critical issue for efficient composting that yields a high quality product. Continuous monitoring can also provide an early warning to potential fire hazards when the temperature exceeds recommended ranges. The COMPO-BALL project has developed an affordable, easy to use and yet robust system that can boost the profitability of composting plants. Designed for, and tested in composting plants across Europe, the COMPO-BALL researchers also envisage the use of the new technology formonitoring the composting of household waste to reduce the organic matter in landfill sites.
Compost, online monitoring, waste, wireless sensor, temperature, humidity, regulations