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A Lumped Parameter Heat Transfer Analysis for Composting Processes With Aeration

Akira Nakayama1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shizuoka University, 3-5-1 Johoku, Hamamatsu, 432-8561 Japan

Heat Balance Equation

The composting pile consists of solid, liquid, and gas. The solid phase includes biodegradable substrates, microbes, and humic substances converted from dead organisms and minerals, whereas the main contents of the gas phase are oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Both substrates and microbes are of multi-components. However, we shall consider a composting system of one dened substrate and one dened microbe species. For simplicity and deniteness, let the gas phase denoted by the super- or subscripts f refer to the mixture of the gases and water vapor, and let the other, namely, the porous matrix denoted by the super- and subscripts s, refer to the liquid water, biodegradable substrate, microbes, and uncompostable substances, all of which are assumed to be in thermal equilibrium within the matrix. Heat is generated due to biological reactions, and transfers from the solid to uid or vice versa. Under such a non-equilibrium condition, the two-energy equation model 9 may be used, in which two distinctive intrinsic average temperatures, namely, one for the gas T f and the porous matrix Ts, are introduced as follows

Kiyohiko Nakasaki
Department of Chemical Engineering, Shizuoka University, 3-5-1 Johoku, Hamamatsu, 432-8561 Japan

Fujio Kuwahara Yoshihiko Sano

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shizuoka University, 3-5-1 Johoku, Hamamatsu, 432-8561 Japan
Keywords: composting process, aeration, mathematical model, porous media, lumped parameter

f c pf

1 T f T f T f + u j = k fe + t x j x j x j V



T n j dA x j

1 Wscw + Sscsub + Xscx + Uscu = 1 Ts 1 kse x j x j V + 1 Hw

Composting is the biological decomposition and stabilization of organic substrates. Heat is generated biologically to produce a nal product that is stable, free of pathogens and weed seeds, which can be benecially applied to land. As pointed out by Haug 1 and Li and Jenkins 2, composting is an ancient art, yet engineering that is still often conducted using a handbook approach. However, such an approach lacks the knowledge to control various factors involved to achieve the desired end product and economics. A typical composting system with aeration is shown in Fig. 1, where the air is ventilated from the bottom to accelerate the biological processes. The air carries sensible and latent heat away as passing through the matrix, while it is essential to maintain organic decomposition leading to biological heat generation. Thus, the control of aeration requires heat transfer analysis if we are to maintain the optimum temperature for the composting system which, according to Nakasaki et al. 3, coincides with the optimum reaction temperature of around 60 C. Mathematical modeling of composting processes in such a composting system is still in its infancy, although several attempts 38 have been made to simulate the composting reactions. The authors 9 have recently introduced the volume-averaging theory previously established for the study of porous media with heat generation e.g., Nakayama et al. 10. We extended it to establish a complete set of the volume-averaged governing equations appropriate for the analysis of composting processes. As a rst step towards our strategic efforts to establish a complete numerical prediction tool for composting operations, we propose a simple lumped parameter model, which can be obtained by integrating the foregoing governing equations.
Corresponding author. Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received June 6, 2006; nal manuscript received January 14, 2007. Review conducted by Chang Oh.

W Xs Ss Hsub + t t t

Ts t



T n j dA x j

than k f / hv where hv is the volumetric heat transfer coefcient. Thus, we may combine the two energy equations, under the local thermal equilibrium i.e., T = T f = Ts, to obtain a single energy equation for the composting system 1 Wscw + Sscsub + Xscx + U sc u + f c f =

The last term on the right-handside of 2 describes the net volumetric heat generation due to biological reactions. However, Nakayama et al. 10 analytically showed the difference in the two temperatures is quite small as long as the macroscopic characteristic length scale i.e., the size of the static pile is much greater

Ws T 1 kse + k fe + 1 Hw t x j x j

T T + fcfuj x j t

Ss + Xs t

We integrate the foregoing heat balance equation over the entire composting matrix to obtain the following ordinary differential equation for a lumped parameter analysis m sc s dT T T + hAT T + H dmw = aircairV air a a w dt dt Hsub dmsub + mx dt 4

where T C here is the temperature averaged over the entire composting matrix. Note Transactions of the ASME

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T =


1 1 EA RA T + 273 T M + 273 TL T TL T M 0

: T TM : T M T TL : TL T

Fig. 1 Composting of static pile with aeration

ms = mw + msub + mx + mu

is the total mass of the composting matrix, while its specic heat capacity is given by cs = mwcw + msubcsub + mxcx + mucu mwcw + ms mwcsub = ms ms 6 where csub = cx = cu is assumed. We may replace the properties of the gas phase by those of air. The rst term on the right-hand side in Eq. 4 denotes the heat carried away by the air supplied at the , while the second term represents the heat volume ow rate of V air loss to the surroundings of the temperature Ta. Whether or not the lumped parameter can model the composting process to a quantiable degree depends on the uniformity of the temperature and concentration distributions within the pile. Since the aeration makes the distributions uniform, the lumped parameter model of this kind is believed to give quantitative information for the average values in the aerated system.

The coefcient accounts for the empirical evidence found by Nakasaki et al. 3. Thus, increases with the temperature following Arrhenius expression up to the optimum reaction temperature T M = 60 C, but decreases for any further temperature rise, as microbial activities are held back. Fujita 8 on the basis of the experiments using the mixtures consisting of dog foods, sludge, and sawdust, recommends the values as follows: Ka = 0.04, wa = 0.15, w1 = 0.6, w2 = 0.8, T M = 60 C, TL = 80 C, EA = 29,000 J / mol, RA = 8.314 J / mol K. The Contois constant kc is related to the growth yield as kcY = 4 20. Here, we x kc = 24, Y = 0.5, and vary b around a typical value 0.18/ h i.e., 5 105 / s, which depends on the degradability of the composting material. In order to close the model, we introduce the water vaporization rate relationship proposed by Fujita 8, namely dmw mw = WsatV air dt ms where the saturated vapor concentration is given by 3994 T + 233.9 WsatT = 0.804 3994 1 exp 11.96 T + 233.9 exp 11.96 10



Normalization and Dimensionless Numbers

In order to normalize the water transport equation 10, microbial growth rate equation 7, and heat balance equation 4, we dene dimensionless variables of the form t* aircairV air t m s0c s0
* msub

T* msub m s0

Microbial Growth Rate Equation and Water Transport Equation

We may model the microbial growth rate according to Contois 11 as dmsub dmx mw msubmx = ,T =Y dt dt ms kcmx + msub
* mw

T Ta T M Ta m* x mx m s0 12

mw m s0

and 7
* ms

where is the maximum specic growth rate, which is given by

ms * * * * = 1 mw 0 mw msub0 msub1 Y m s0


= b


mw wa ms T : wa mw Ka + ms mw w2 w1 wa ms : w1 T Ka + w1 w2 w1 0

mw w1 ms

mw w2 ms


where the subscript 0 refers to as its initial value. The convec is used to normalize the tion time scale tref = ms0cs0 / aircairV air time, while the difference between the optimum reaction temperature and ambient temperature is introduced to scale the system temperature. Using these dimensionless variables, the governing equations are normalized as follows
* * dmw mw * 14 = F T w * * * * dt* 1 mw 0 mw msub0 msub1 Y * * * * m* msub dmsub x0 + Y msub0 msub * * * * * * = DaFsubT , mw * dt mx0 + Y msub0 msub + msub / k c

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dT* cw * csub * * * m w0 m w msub0 msub 1 Y c s0 c s0 dt*

= 1 + StT*

Hw F w T * c s0 T M T a
* mw * * msub0 msub 1 Y

+ Da where

* mw 0

* mw

Hsub * FsubT*, mw 1 Y c s0 T M T a
* * * + Y msub0 msub + msub / k c

* * * msub m* x0 + Y msub0 msub

m* x0


F w T * FsubT
* * , mw

1 1 EA exp b RA Ta + 273 T M + 273

cs0WsatT aircair


17b and Da

Fig. 2 Effects of b on system temperature


The foregoing normalization procedure reveals two important dimensionless parameters controlling the phenomena, namely, Stanton number St and Damkohler number Da, respectively, dened by St hA aircairV air 18a

hA/ms0 = 1.48 /m aircairV air s0


1 1 EA B c s0 exp k Y R T + 273 T + 273 c A a M aircairVair/ms0


= 0.359


1 1 c s0m s0 b EA exp k Y R T + 273 T + A a M 273 c V c

air air air


The Stanton number accounts for the heat loss to the environment while the Damkohler number corresponding with the ratio of reaction rate to convection rate controls the biological heat generation within the matrix. Alternatively, the Damkohler number may be interpreted as the ratio of the convection time scale tref to that of the microbial reaction. As we give = ms0cs0 / aircairV air * St, Da, Ta or cs0T M Ta / Hw and the initial values m* w0, msub0, * * mx0, and T = 0, we may readily integrate the foregoing ordinary * * * differential equations to determine T*t*, m* wt , and msubt , * * * * * * * and subsequently nd ms t and mx t = mx0 + Y msub0 msub.

Effects of the Specic Growth Rate Coefcient b and Ambient Temperature Ta (Da) on the Composting Process. Prior to a series of computations, the reference case described above was treated to check the present calculation procedure based on Runge-Kutta-Gill method e.g., Nakayama 12. The results obtained for the case of b = 0.18/ h are found in good accord with those reported by Fujita 8. The difference in the system temperature between the two sets of the results remains within 3 C. The specic growth rate coefcient b may vary depending on the contents of the matrix. Fujita 8 carried out exhaustive measurements of b using various mixtures consisting of dog foods, sludge, and sawdust, and found b vary from 0.18/ h to 0.08/ h depending on the mixtures. The computational results obtained for various cases ranging from b = 0.18/ h to 0.08/ h with the other values xed are compared against the reference case in Figs. 2 and 3. As seen from Fig. 2, any decrease in b results in lowering the

Results and Discussion

As a reference case, we consider a composting process within the same static pile as investigated by Fujita 8, in which the air continuously ows into the static pile from the bottom by forced ventilation and the exhaust gas escapes from the top exposed to = 0.262 m3 / s. The volume of the the ambient air at the rate of V air static pile is 235.5 m3 and the initial total mass ms0 = 47,100 kg such that the apparent density is 200 kg/ m3. Fujita 8 experimentally evaluated the heat transfer coefcients at the inner and outer walls in the range from 9 to 11 W / m2 K. The overall thermal conductance through the concrete wall was estimated to be hA = 640 W / K. The initial masses are given by mw0 = 28,260 kg, * msub0 = 14,130 kg and mx0 = 471 kg such that m* w0 = 0.6, msub0 = 0.3, and m* = 0.01. The physical properties used in computax0 tions are as follows: air = 1.20 kg/ m3, cair = 1400 J / kg K, cw = 4200 J / kg K, csub = 2100 J / kg K, Hw = 2.44 106 J / kg, and * Hsub = 1.76 107 J / kg, such that cs0 = m* w0cw + 1 mw0csub / m c = 100 h i.e., 3.6 = 3360 J / kg K, and tref = aircairV air s0 s0 105 s. For this reference case, we set b = 0.18/ h i.e., 5 105 / s and Ta = 20 C, such that 904 / Vol. 129, JULY 2007

Fig. 3 Effects of b on total mass

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Fig. 4 Effects of heat loss per unit mass on system temperature

Fig. 6 Dimensionless presentation of system temperature

system temperature and a longer time to attain its peak temperature. Naturally, Fig. 3 shows that the total mass decreases more slowly for a smaller b. Especially when b as small as 0.08, the system temperature never exceeds the optimum reaction temperature of 60 C. The effects of ambient temperature Ta on the system are similar to those of b. We note from Eq. 19b that any decrease in either b or Ta results in lowering the value of Da. As will be shown later using the dimensionless presentation, it is the Damkohler number Da that virtually controls the time for the system to reach its peak temperature. Effects of the Thermal Conductance (St) on the Composting Process. The size of the static pile directly reects on the value of hA / ms0, which naturally increases for a smaller size. Fujita 8 gives hA / ms0 = 0.0136 W / kg K for ms0 = 47, 100 kg i.e., the reference case and hA / ms0 = 0.0445 W / kg K for ms0 = 2.51 kg. It is assumed that the air is supplied in such a fashion that the volume ow rate per unit mass of the matrix is held constant, say / m = 5.56 106 m3 / kg s i.e., 0.02 m3 / kg h. This practice V air s0 helps attain optimum microbial activities, without carrying much heat away from the system. Thus, for the same ambient conditions, a decrease in the size of the static pile results in an increase in St see Eq. 19a, while Da see Eq. 19b stays constant. Computations were made for the cases ranging from hA / ms0 = 0.0136 W / K kg to 0.0667 W / K kg St= 1.48 to 7.14 and the

results are shown in Fig. 4. The gure clearly shows that heat loss shortens the plateau of high temperature period; and decelerates consumption of the mass in the system. It is essential to design the system such that St stays sufciently small say St 5 for the system temperature to exceed the optimum reaction temperature. Dimensionless Presentation. In addition to the reference case, two distinctive cases; namely Ta , b = 10 C , 0.247/ h and 0 C , 0.43/ h, in which Da remains the same value Da= 0.359 as the reference case Ta , b = 20 C , 0.18/ h, are considered to investigate possible similarity in the results for xed Da. The temperature results for three cases are presented in dimensional and dimensionless forms in Figs. 5 and 6, respectively, while the temporal development of the total mass is plotted in Fig. 7 using a dimensionless form. Figure 6 clearly shows that all three normalized curves overlap one another in a considerably wide range, from the beginning of the temperature rise to the end of the temperature plateau. After the plateau, the temperature drops faster for the lower ambient temperature. From both Figs. 6 and 7, we may conclude that, for a given Stanton number St, the Damkohler number Da virtually controls the system. Thus, it should be taken as one of the important parameters for designing the composting process with aeration.

Fig. 5 Dimensional presentation of system temperature

Fig. 7

Dimensionless presentation of total mass

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the technical support provided by Mr. T. Nakashita, the president of Hoei Bussan Co., Japan.

density kg/ m3 maximum specic growth rate s1 B coefcient associated with the maximum specic growth rate s1
Subscripts and Superscripts air air f gas s matrix sub substrate u uncompostable w water x microbes 0 initial Special Symbol f ,s intrinsic average

A c Da Ea h Hw Hsub kc k fe kse m u RA Ss St t T Ta TM Us total surface area of the static pile m2 heat capacity J/kg k Damkohler number activation energy J/mol overall heat transfer coefcient W / m2 K latent heat of water vaporization J/kg latent heat of metabolic reaction J/kg Contios constant effective thermal conductivity of uid W/m K effective thermal conductivity of solid W/m K mass kg Darcian velocity m/s universal gas constant J/mol k volume average concentration of substrate kg/ m3 Stanton number time s system temperature K ambient tempearture K optimum reaction temperature K volume average concentration of uncompostable kg/ m3

1 Haug, R. T., 1993, The Practical Handbook of Compost Engineering, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 2 Li, C. H., and Jenkins, D. R., 2003, Modeling and Numerical Simulation of Composting Process, CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences, Technical Report CMIS 03/26. 3 Nakasaki, K., Kato, J., Akiyama, T., and Kubota, H., 1987, A New Composting Model and Assessment of Optimum Operation for Effective Drying of Composting Material, J. Ferment. Technol., 654, pp. 441447. 4 Nakasaki, K., Shoda, M., and Kubota, H., 1985, Effect of Temperature on Composting of Sewage Sludge, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., pp. 15261530. 5 Kaiser, J., 1996, Modeling Composting as a Microbial Ecosystem: A Simulation Approach, Ecol. Modell., 91, pp. 2537. 6 Das, K., and Keener, H. M., 1997, Numerical Model for Dynamic Simulation of a Large Scale Composting System, Trans. ASAE, 404, pp. 11791189. 7 Li, C. H., and Glowinski, R., 1996, Modeling and Numerical Simulation of Low-Mach-Number Compressible Flows, Int. J. Numer. Methods Fluids, 23, pp. 77103. 8 Fujita, K., 1998, Composting Technology, Gihodo Publishers, Tokyo in Japanese. 9 Nakayama, A., Nakasaki, K., Kuwahara, F., and Fukazawa, T., 2006, A Simulation Model Based on Porous Media for a Composting System, Proc. 43rd National Heat Transfer Conf., Vol. 3, pp. 741742. 10 Nakayama, A., Kuwahara, F., Sugiyama, M., and Xu, G., 2001, A TwoEnergy Equation Model for Conduction and Convection in Porous Media, Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 44, pp. 43754379. 11 Contois, D. E., 1959, Kinetics of Bacterial Growth: Relationship Between Population Density and Specic Growth Rate of Continuous Culture, J. Gen. Microbiol., 21, pp. 4050. 12 Nakayama, A., 1995, PC-Aided Numerical Heat Transfer and Convective Flow, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

volume ow rate of air m3 / s V air Ws volume average concentration of water kg/ m3 wa,1,2 constants associated with the maximum specic growth rate Xs volume average concentration of microbes kg/ m3 Y growth yield function associated with the maximum specic growth rate volume fraction occupied by the gas phase

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