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Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598

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Modelling nitrogen and carbon interactions in composting of animal
manure in naturally aerated piles
D. Oudart a,b, P. Robin c,d,⇑, J.M. Paillat a, E. Paul e,f,g
CIRAD, UR Recyclage et risque, Avenue Agropolis, F-34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
Crête d’Or Entreprise, F-97427 Etang Salé, France
INRA, UMR1069 Sol Agro et hydrosystèmes Spatialisation, F-35000 Rennes, France
Agrocampus Ouest, F-35000 Rennes, France
Université de Toulouse, INSA, UPS, LISBP, 135 Avenue de Rangueil, F-31077 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
INRA, UMR792 Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés, F-31400 Toulouse, France
CNRS, UMR5504, F-31400 Toulouse, France

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Composting animal manure with natural aeration is a low-cost and low-energy process that can improve
Received 23 January 2015 nitrogen recycling in millions of farms world-wide. Modelling can decrease the cost of choosing the best
Revised 7 July 2015 options for solid manure management in order to decrease the risk of loss of fertilizer value and ammonia
Accepted 28 July 2015
emission. Semi-empirical models are suitable, considering the scarce data available in farm situations.
Available online 26 September 2015
Eleven static piles of pig or poultry manure were monitored to identify the main processes governing
nitrogen transformations and losses. A new model was implemented to represent these processes in a
pile considered as homogeneous. The model is based on four modules: biodegradation, nitrogen transfor-
mations and volatilization, thermal exchanges, and free air space evolution. When necessary, the param-
Manure eters were calibrated with the data set. The results showed that microbial growth could reduce ammonia
Nitrogen volatilization. Greatest nitrogen conservation is achieved when microbial growth was limited by nitrogen
Ammonia availability.
Nitrous oxide Ó 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license

1. Introduction than forced aeration composting (Solano et al., 2001). Modelling
can help to reduce the uncertainty in national inventories, to
Solid manure management is an economic and environmental choose the best options for manure management, to understand
issue for millions of livestock farms at global scale (FAO, 2011; the causes of poor performance in existing composting process,
Gerber et al., 2013). Annual production of animal manure is esti- and to reduce the cost of experiments.
mated at 7 billion tons, which is higher than the production of Statistical modelling and previous experiments have shown the
plant residues or other biosolids (Thangarajan et al., 2013). Its important influence of dry bulk density, water content, nitrogen
management concerns nitrogen recycling, carbon stocks in soils availability and carbon biodegradability on carbon and nitrogen
and transport costs (Steinfeld et al., 2010). Composting is a tradi- losses during the composting of animal manure in naturally aerated
tional management process with multiple goals (Mustin, 1987; piles (Paillat et al., 2005; Abd el Kader et al., 2007). However, the
Haug, 1993). It has been used for centuries to recycle nutrients application of statistical modelling is limited to a small number of
excreted by animals, stabilize organic matter before its transport outputs (e.g. temperature). The discrepancies between predictions
and use, hygienize manure and, more recently, to reduce emissions and observations are difficult to interpret, as for black-box models.
of odours, ammonia and greenhouse gases (Bernal et al., 2009). Therefore the use of such modelling in a ‘‘plan-do-check-act’’ man-
Composting manure in static piles with natural aeration is a agement programme is limited, as is its use to capitalize increasing
low-cost and low-energy process that can be applied on small to knowledge.
medium-sized farms. With an appropriate initial mixture, static In recent years, models representing the interactions between
pile composting produces the same final compost and is cheaper physical and biochemical characteristics have been developed for
composting (Mason, 2006; Vlyssides et al., 2009). Some represent
the compost as a homogeneous system while more recent ones
⇑ Corresponding author at: INRA, UMRSAS, 65 rue de St Brieuc, CS 84215, F-35042
use a 3D representation (Pujol et al., 2011). Collectively developed
Rennes Cedex, France.
models for activated sludge treatment plants have shown that
E-mail address: (P. Robin).
0956-053X/Ó 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

5% soluble nitrogen in total nitrogen) and also among piles M. the production and exchanges the 20–25 °C range in order to observe potential emissions. K and L (39.0. They were chosen by analysing . Fig. pig slurry. the main processes to be rep. Moisture content (W:DM = 2. 2007). content. represent the stabilization of organic matter (OM). such as the informa. The initial pile corresponded to an on-farm use. the feedbacks between gas concentrations (H2O. The repeatability of observations was can be based on international peer-reviewed literature. 24. and matter density). N and O (403 ± 50 g soluble Van Soest kg1 dry matter).0 for A. Fig.2. N. 2. BDdry) on the emissions of the com. In experiment (ratio of soluble van Soest fraction to total dry matter. ventilation. (2007) and additional details are given in Supplementary to agriculture is to choose a representation of the processes using material. (2005b). 2000. the spatial repeatable within 11% and that the mass budget of C and H2O was distribution of mass and energy within the compost was not repeatable within 5%.78 to 2.9% soluble nitrogen in total nitrogen). Sulphide. into four mixtures with similar carbon:nitrogen ratios (E.37 ± 0. F. (iii) generic parameters that of budget restrictions. ammonia and total nitrogen losses. compost piles were naturally aerated and not turned. In experiment 4. Materials and methods or sawdust.18 m3). each composed of wheat straw. Therefore. They were chosen bring out the contrast in interactions between nitrogen losses and carbon biodegradability.95 m3.g. 1). H2O composition and availability. To the best of our knowledge. pH. includ. Among the 15 treatments.203 to 0. The density of dry matter was preferred 0. 1. when algorithms for parameter prediction were implemented.01 m3). dry ing nitrogen stabilization. bon and nitrogen transformations. was located in one thermally insulated enclosure of 8 m3 located ing of animal manure in static piles.6 ± 3. heat production. In experiment 2.125 Mg m3.7. The eight piles (A to H) had the same shape (half a swath). 2013). Semi-empirical modelling Fig. a range of BDdry from 0. SN:TN). a range of SN:TN was obtained by adding urea resented from an observed dataset are discussed and then the into four mixtures with different carbon:nitrogen ratios (respec- model is described. K and L.005 Mg m3) and free air space (soluble to total nitrogen ratio. carbon biodegradability (Svs:DM). Fig.095 to 0. Each pile such models have not previously been established for the compost. were conducted to study the specific effect of nitrogen availability dry bulk density (BDdry = 0. 19.3 ± 3. 3 piles that had markedly differ- ent nitrogen availability were chosen to illustrate the results. C and D. Experiments and water.52 kg water kg1 dry weight. Abd El Kader et al. natural convection and oxygena. dry matter (dry bulk density. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 589 generic parameters and models can be adapted to a range of situ. a range of water contents to free air space because free air space also depends on water (W:DM ranged from 1.. J. 1. 1). average composition (C. tile fatty acids and microbial biomass were not observed because tion used in national inventories.36 ± 0. (2005) and Abd El Kader concentrations). G and H. 1) was obtained with different water additions to three mixtures (M. (ii) parameters that can be estimated but can be downloaded from Paillat et al. N. air speed was measured at the outlet of the tion of the pile. respectively). Oudart et al. The calibrated parameters and the resulting tively 29. J. D. It should represent nitrogen transformations. each composed outputs are discussed. O (80. Variability of nitrogen availability (SN:TN).73 ± 0. J. except for piles L and M (0. Pile masses varied from 348 to 1139 kg to achieve the expected range of BDdry and W:DM. These observations are not presented here an initial pile of solid manure. described. W:DM varied from posting process (Fig. Table 1 presents the composition and characteristics observed for these 3 piles. 4 mixtures were reserved for further validation. The of heat. Svs:DM). N and O) made of the same components as in experiment 2.36 ± 0. temperature. In this paper. water content (W:DM). Air humidity. a range of Svs:DM was obtained by adding either sugar beet molasses 2. urea 2. pig slurry.94 and 0. the decrease In all experiments. of pig manure. The seven piles (I to O) had the same shape (half a swath) and volume (1. 11 mixtures were chosen to develop the model and calibrate the parameters. In the following sections. and dry bulk density (BDdry) among the 15 The first step was to identify the main processes governing car- treatments.. W:DM) and density of various packing levels of four piles composed of turkey manure (I. In experiment 1. The mixtures were chosen to cover the conventional range ations (Henze et al.091 ± 0. 17. where BDdry varied from 0.6.308 Mg m3 was obtained with water content (water to dry matter ratio. and the emission of gases. Fig. wheat straw and water.. the air temperature around the pile was in in chemical oxygen demand (COD). B. These models of variations encountered in animal manure composting. in a thermally insulated building. NH3) were measured inside and out- biomass growth. The dry bulk density and moisture content of these 3 piles were similar. 1). temperature and lar case lies in the high nitrogen content. farm-level parameters that will describe specifically pleted was analysed.04 m3) except for Four successive experiments comprising a total of 15 treatments pile H (1. H2O and NH3 emissions were should need as few parameters as possible. carbon biodegradability (0. SN:TN ratios were similar among piles I. sure system is described in Paillat et al. but varied more widely for piles M. The mesocosm enclo- used as forcing variables (e. and temperature in the compost.1. observed in triplicate during a 20 days experiment reported in Our objective was to develop a dynamic model suitable for details by Oudart (2013). The composition of the piles after the composting com- (i) low-cost. vola- from national references and grey literature. K and L. CO2. 3. side the enclosure. Choubert et al.02 m3 m3) were similar among the piles. The originality of this particu. mass (409 ± 12 kg) and volume (1. and the absence of measurements that can be enclosure. It showed that CO2. Svs:DM ratios (532 ± 22 g Soluble Van Soest kg1 dry matter) were similar among piles I.87 to 4. The main challenge in designing a model suited et al.00 kg kg1.15 kg kg1).

here it came from growing pigs fed with a standard diet and the dry matter biological reaction started immediately. and also requires the modelling of self-heating and natural aeration of oxygen.9 to 3 days.6 – course of CO2 and NH3 emissions for the 3 piles. the cell dry mass. 1987. 2008) for solid waste com- Cellulose-like (ADF–ADL) 37 39 24 posting. It was decided to represent the composting pile decrease for piles F & G. to be taken using the VensimÒ software (Ventana. of the CO2:NH3 ratio measured in the emitted gas phase.. the CO2 emission profiles matched the cor- DM density (kg m3)b 84 89 91 responding temperature profiles rather well until the temperature DM content (g kg1 WW) 289 290 297 peak. thermal exchanges.3 50–60 °C after 30 days. An increase in this ratio can be explained by a decrease in nitrogen availability.2 19. The lowest peak in CO2 emission and the the observed dynamics of temperature. The values were different because of volatilization and natural convection but also microbial growth interactions between processes (e. 2c stresses the differences between CO2 and lignin.7 15. as already noted Hemicellulose-like (NDF–ADF) 28 23 20 by the same authors (Pommier et al. Sugar beet molasses – – 7. respectively. the model and the interpretation of the results in on-farm As already noted by Paillat et al. without any acceleration content was 10% of the wet weight.6 already been adopted in activated sludge modelling (Henze et al.8 6. while a first peak is followed by a eters as possible. moisture and nitrogen availability). Parameters were cal. Two carbon (or COD) compartments have TC:TN (g C g1 N) 24. is thus worth studying the consequence of this ratio on the profile e Water:dry matter. Afterwards. the use of a catalytic biomass-dependent model improved Lignin-like (ADL) 6 10 3 the fidelity of the representation of the slow acceleration phase. including water losses. leading to the lowest CO2:NH3 ratio. porosity evolu. the decrease in temperature was slower than the MM content (g kg1 DM) 177 158 291 decrease in CO2 emission rate. Then.. as A Pig slurry is a generic name that corresponds to a range of chemical composi.4 6. MM: mineral fraction measured as ash.1.2 23. mass in kg and volume in m3). The loga- f NDF: neutral detergent fibre. into account.5 2. and nitrogen transformations. ADL: acid detergent rithmic scale of Fig. the natural convection through it and the pH at the mathematical choices matched the observed variability the liquid–gas interface (Sommer et al.6 – temperature decreased slowly and values became close to Water 56. It d Carbon in the soluble Van Soest fraction:soluble nitrogen. yield (around 63% of COD degraded is converted into biomass. with a temperature peak value around 70 °C.9 71.7 6. then also by temperature. observed for pile F. The highest CO2 emis- concepts in the literature that were reliable (applied in a range of sion and lowest NH3 emission (highest peak after setting) is situations. Results and discussion Initial composition and characteristics of the piles B. and d shows the temperature dynamics and the time Sawdust – 10. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 Table 1 3. for liquid wastewater treatment and in composting Van Soest fractions (% DM)f (Pommier et al.5 0. 1918).. ADF: acid detergent fibre. which induced a high initial concentration b Dry bulk density. However.0 one commonly described for most composting situations Characteristic (Mustin. nitrogen incorporation situations. limitation of microbial growth and water evaporation. (DM: dry matter. 2006). the modelling of nitrogen losses by carbon availability alone at first. Modelling the com- tion. pig manure in this pile. 2a. Bradley and Nichols. 1993). F and G. NH3 emissions that can be observed at the early stage of compost- ing. tions. CSVS:SNd 19. the parameters were calibrated taking influence of temperature is complex: temperature increases NH3 all the processes together.7 slower decrease in temperature was a consequence of the thermal Total carbon-TC (g kg1 WW) 119 141 131 inertia of the pile. especially of animal manures) and that required as few param.3 Fig. including the ammonification process. requires the dynamics of carbon and the nitrogen availability for cesses. . b.2 lization of the biodegradable organic matter (decrease in COD). a Free air space = [total volume  (dry matter mass/1600)  (water mass/ phase.0 100. 1).4 2000). observed in piles F and G. 2012). 1999) and of the cell nitrogen content (8–12% of organic matter biodegradation.6 5. Free air space (% initial volume)a 74 73 73 For the three piles. The complexity of the model petition between ammonia emission and nitrogen assimilation increased with the introduction of feedbacks between these pro. 2003). observed for pile G. For pile B.3 – – Pig slurryA – 52. (2005). B F G 3. the (Oudart et al. where the addition of sawdust made the carbon The second step was to choose mathematical representations or less biodegradable than in the other piles. The third step was to successively implement the processes of Spérandio et al.8 3.7 21. Then the Urea 0. Oudart et al. increase is observed for pile B. The model ran at an hourly time step and was implemented biomass growth.5 W:DM (kg kg1)e 2. Therefore the profiles were close to the Total 100...1 12..0 4. into cell biomass can reduce ammonia emission. of active heterotrophic biomass. This difference is explained by the interval as a homogeneous system in order to simplify the application of between the peaks of NH3 and CO2 (Fig. This quantity is ber of parameters and variables describing each portion of the pile significant because of the high values of the maximal cell growth and to the number of interactions within the pile. This behaviour can be explained by the high proportion of 1000)]/total volume (Agnew and Leonard. 2008). They are characterized by a high and a Soluble (100–NDF) 29 28 53 low biodegradation rate. and also the effect of moisture.0 100. where molasses was added.2 5. WW: wet weight). generic parameters suitable for solid manure compost.7 14. the time of temperature rise ranged from 1 Pig manure 15.590 D. 2b and d). The NH+4-N (g kg1 WW) 2. Therefore. and CO2 and NH3 highest NH3 emission. NH3 emission also depends on the temperature ibrated first when implementing each process. is emissions. Moreover. A progressive ing. the pile. 2003.6 Soluble nitrogen (g kg1 WW)c 2.g. Haug. to check whether within the pile. tial ratio of biodegradable carbon to available nitrogen (Fig. This choice decreased the complexity due to the num.5 Whatever the pile.2 4. Identifying the main processes from observations Component (%) Wheat straw 28.5 2. Emission decreased with the stabi- Total nitrogen-TN (g kg1 WW) 4. The composition of the three piles differed strongly by the ini- c Kjeldahl method on the juice extracted from maceration of 25 g of fresh material in 200 g of deionized water at 4 °C for 12 h.

0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 18 160 (h) Emission of N -NH 3 (mgN h -1 kg -1IOM) Emission of H 2O (gH 2O h -1 kg-1IOM) 16 (g) 140 14 120 12 100 10 80 8 60 6 40 4 20 2 0 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Days aer pile seng Days aer pile seng Fig.2 0 0.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 160 1000 emission of N-NH3 (mgN h-1 kg-1 IOM) emission rao C-CO2:N-NH3 (gC gN-1) (c) 140 (d) 120 100 100 80 60 10 40 20 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 80 1. CO2 (f). budget results in an average temperature.6 80 (a) emission of C-CO2 (gC h-1 kg-1 IOM) 1. moisture.4 60 1.6 (e) (f) Emission of C-CO2 (gC h-1 kg-1IOM) 70 1. 2. CO2 emission (b).4 10 0. D.4 (b) 70 1. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 591 1.2 60 Temperature (°C) 50 1. CO2:NH3 emission ratio (c). in which the thermal The model is based on four modules: (i) The COD biodegrada. Cell growth depends on temperature. In this module. Observed dynamics of temperature of pile centre (a).6 20 0.4 10 0.2 Temperature (°C) 50 1.2 0 0.8 30 0.0 40 0. oxygen and pile available nitrogen.0 40 0. IOM = initial organic matter. pile G (thick grey line). 3. H2O (g). Oudart et al.2. Pile B (thin black line).8 30 0. pile F (thick black line). (ii) The heat module. and NH3 (h) emissions. It includes natural ven- tion module including heterotrophic cell growth on biodegradable tilation and the associated convective losses of sensible and latent . NH3 emission (d) and H2O emission (g). simulated dynamics of average pile temperature (e). cell decay and CO2 emission are also considered.6 20 0. Representing the processes and interactions within the manure COD.

The most important et al. as a func- tion of heat production and free air space. growth (Nav). the oxygen Two biomasses grow on the available nitrogen: the heterotrophic    diffusion will be less and the heat production by biological oxida. Souloumiac and Itier (1989) showed that dt the contribution of latent heat (water evaporation) to natural ven. Only a brief description is given here. nitrification sent nitrification. It is due to differences dNX h  in air density between inside and outside the pile. 3. 2003). the natural ventilation was assumed to be proportional to the difference in virtual temperature between the pile and the ambient air. one at a high rate. Free air space evolution depends on water and dry matter losses. Growth and decay lead to Petersen matrix (last column) is multiplied by the coefficient oxygen consumption and CO2 and H2O production. low one. NXRB) characterized by a slow and a rapid rate compartments are hydrolysed.e. Ammonification increases the stock of nitrogen that is available for sumed by the heterotrophic biomass for growth. tion of N content in heterotrophic biomass is given by: Natural ventilation is calculated in the heat module. The varia- porosity modules are given in Oudart (2013). The growth of autotrophic biomass is independent of the limits the temperature elevation. Biomass decay microbial growth (Nav). Souloumiac and Itier (1989) proposed that temperature should be replaced by the meteorological concept of virtual temperature in the equations of natural ventilation in order to take sensible and latent fluxes into account simultaneously. 1926. Haug. N2O and N2 in the gas phase. A parameter (ratio of the decrease in volume to the decrease in dry matter) takes account of the fact that dry matter loss can induce either an increase in porosity (total volume is stable) or a decrease in porosity (the pile subsides when organic particles are hydrolysed). it is assumed that heat is only produced by the oxidation of organic matter leading to CO2 emission. with nitrogen mineralization and assimilation were added to this Ammonification is represented by the hydrolysis of two com- initial module. Oxygen input for microbial growth is consid- ered to be less than oxygen input by natural ventilation. The rate given in the first lines of the releases biodegradable and inert COD. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 heat. A param- eter (fraction of effective O2) represents the diffusion limitation induced inside the aggregates of organic matter by high water con- tent.      dNX RB dNX h dNX a dNX i eter converts the COD decrease into total heat production. in microbial biomass (NXh) and its accumulation as inert nitrogen tent. Therefore. dNX h and dNX a are the biomass dt dt D tions will be proportionally reduced. Reductions of NO3 into N2O and of N2O into N2 and denitrification. Their hydrolysis constants are kHS and kHR respectively. Volatiliza- towards the biofilm is also considered. Oudart et al. Natural ventila- ¼ lh  X h  bh  X h  tNXh ð3Þ dt tion induces a negative feedback: a temperature increase induces where the coefficient tNXh is the nitrogen content of heterotrophic more ventilation and the resulting increase in convective losses biomass. Ammonification of organic nitrogen. Compartments and flows represented in the nitrogen module. the pile is deduced from the budget of sensible heat and the ther- The nitrogen assimilated by heterotrophic biomass is proportional mal properties of the compost. Feedbacks with heat production and dissipation or reactions of the nitrogen module are presented below. A param. 1982). 1993. Oxygen transfer ysis and biomass growth in the biodegradation module. its assimilation Fig. Oxygen input to the biofilm and free air space are calculated in the porosity module. The specific growth rates lh and la depend on the three main reasons: (i) like sensible heat. in which free air space depends on after biomass decay are represented in a similar way to the hydrol- total porosity and water content dynamics. (iv) The nitrogen module. More details of the thermal and to the growth calculated in the biodegradation module. tion of NH3 decreases the stock of nitrogen available for microbial modelling nitrogen biological transformations including N incor. ¼ kHS  NX SB ð1Þ dt In the heat module. 3 illustrates the processes that are represented in the nitro- gen module. The vapour decreases air density. (2012). giving following activated and then inhibited when the temperature increases. providing a substrate (soluble COD fraction) that is con. and for N emissions through NH3. the effects of temperature decrease and water content increase on air density are opposite. dNX a  ¼ la  NX a  ba  NX a ð4Þ Barrington et al. At high moisture contents. Two COD partments (NXSB. An autotrophic biomass (NXa) is introduced to repre- poration into the heterotrophic and autotrophic cells. and autotrophic biomasses. . air density difference) depends only on the temperature difference (Emswiler. (ii) latent heat can represent more limitation functions flim take account of the influence of environ- than half the total heat dissipated. the other at a of reaction. The equations and the associated variables and parameters of The COD biodegradation module has been described by Oudart the nitrogen module are given in Appendix A. The ¼ kHR  NX RB  þ þ ð2Þ dt dt D dt D dt ratio of latent heat to total heat decreases as water availability decreases (Brutsaert. (iii) when water evaporation mental conditions on the specific growth rates: induces a decrease in air temperature.. (iii) The porosity module. Most literature considers that biodegradation module: natural ventilation (i. Fig. The average temperature of D decay for heterotrophic and autotrophic biomasses respectively. Growth is first (1: decrease in NXRB. in our model. equations: Growth is limited by the water content and the oxygen and nitro- dNX SB gen concentrations in the liquid in contact with the biomass. The mortality of biomass is represented by the constant decay rates tilation cannot be neglected in the case of biological processes for bh and ba. Natural ventilation depends on total porosity and water con. and +1: increase in Nav).592 D. These are responsible for N immobilization are represented as substrate limited reactions. an increase in water maximal specific growth rates (respectively lhmax and lamax).

specific parameters are initially deduced from prediction algo- ral convection through the pile results in the following rithms. and lastly pile F). 2003. Analysing model calibration and simulations of the biodegradation processes (e. the present model corresponds to the minimum com- 3. It results in the following either directly calculated from observed data. Further improvement of model outputs dNH3 Q air  NH3. Mason. then pile G. such as first-order models N2 and N2O in the total nitrogen denitrified. composting.g.) and on the way the pile is built by resented (first pile B. and the differences in peak value.3. Pommier et al. The values of biodegradation parameters dt P were chosen on the basis of previous modelling studies concerning A part of the nitrate production (pN2Onit) is emitted as N2O. This 1964).g ¼ NHþ4  KH  ð9Þ those parameters. 2000). other part increases the NO3 compartment. that the total heat production is correctly predicted from COD . Rosso et al. 23 values are based on the liter- la ¼ lamax  f limTnit  f limO2a  f limHum  f limNav ð6Þ ature. and air space (NH3. 2008). Lehuger et al.g can include recalibration procedures on the basis of comparisons ¼ f ð10Þ between the observed and simulated dynamics of temperature. chicken. which is the piles to be detected: the time interval between pile settling and equivalent to considering net fluxes and not raw fluxes. 2006. 2000) and nitrogen transformations (Sommer et al. 2e. Kulcu and Yaldiz. H2O (Fig. (2008) showed that first-order models were not suitable to simulate differences in accelerations 3. Extensive studies have led to average biomass. dt qairsec  V air limHum The net production of N2 and N2O from the NO 3 stock is repre. For example. 2d and h) to be compared for 3 piles.g and of the natu.. Therefore the values of the 23 parameters deduced NH+4 is assumed to be a constant proportion of the available nitro- from the literature. Fig. including in the limitation functions of nitrification and denitrification is its limitation by temperature. area) mated indirectly for each pile. there is a risk of bias due to overparameterization of the cess of condensation that is observed below the pile surface model. Therefore. 2b and f). using only initial characteristics. 2009). representing the temperature during the first 30 days of to the processes that are common to all situations. (ii) because using the pile temperature degraded The 14 parameters specific to each composting mixture were the simulation of NH3 emission. Fig. and not from calibration equation: with output variables. packing. the discussion in the next paragraphs shows a Rgp  T S low risk of bias. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 593 lh ¼ lhmax  f limSR  f limT  f limO2h  f limHum  f limNav ð5Þ Among the generic parameters. Simpler models have been proposed process. 1993. 2000. Parameters describing nitrification can be further denitrified. 2b. This risk is low for the parameters that were found to be when the ambient temperature is much lower than the pile constant for all piles. N2O produced by Sole-Mauri et al. 2f.. or indirectly esti- equation: mated using the optimization algorithm included in VensimÒ. allows the main differences between the piles to be parameters are specific to each composting situation. Fig. the following equations: Eighteen parameters are generic but are not available in the  The equilibrium between NH+4 and gaseous ammonia in the free literature (volatilization of ammonia.2. The solid mixtures (Boursier. The time interval be found on the farm. The following equation giving the variation in available nitro. the yield of nitrate production (YNO3) being constant: values for the constants. allows the main differences in CO2 emissions between Assimilation of N2O and N2 into biomass is neglected. H2O. 3. piles B and F). We dNav consider that the simulation of these variables is acceptable ¼ ½kHR  NX RB þ kHS  NX SB  dt considering the accuracy of low-cost parameters that can be    ðlh  X h Þ  tN Xh þ ðla  NX a Þ  ð1 þ Y NO3 Þ ð8Þ obtained at farm scale. In the case of simultaneous optimization of several param- choice was made for two reasons: (i) to take account of the pro- eters. 2007.  The volatilization of NH3 as a function of NH3. can the temperature of the ambient air (Ts).. These results show temperature can limit the transformations. as for the volatilization be considered as acceptable. The processes concerned describe biodegradation (Henze et al.3. 2005). applied to soil organic matter (Hénault and Germon. etc.1. to oxygenation).. Oudart et al. Generic and specific parameters plexity that is necessary to predict robust dynamics of temperature The model has 55 parameters. biomass modelling. etc.). like N2O produced by nitrification and denitrification were based on the NEMIS model denitrification. Other equations are (Kirchmann and Witter. nitrogen. Consistency of the model structure sented by using the NEMIS representation (Hénault and Germon. and to a bulk parameter (pIntLG) introduced to CO2. and the differences in peak value. NH3 volatilization is represented in two steps by solid manure composted in static piles. 2a and e).g) is proportional to the concentration of Nav. and thus constant for all composting situations. natural ventilation.g. width. 1989. If the model is used for process optimization.. The rise in CO2. We assume the farmer (height. Denitrification is proportional to the stock of nitrates. The other 14 composting. 2006.. Nitrate production is proportional to the growth of autotrophic Hénault and Germon. 2 allows the observed and simulated gen can be deduced from the Petersen matrix (see Appendix A): dynamics for temperature (Fig. Forty-one of them are generic and gaseous emissions. The water-filled pore space changes the proportions of to describe biodegradation.3. using the optimization algorithm among piles. The temperature used that the representation of organic matter biodegradation. They should detected: the time interval between pile settling and the peak of represent the variability between the different situations that can temperature. D. The parameters were esti- describe the variability of the liquid–gas interface (e. 2004) without given in Appendix A. Tremier et al. They correspond Fig. NH3. representing CO2 emission during the first 30 days of 2000). and N2O for the 11 piles.. pH.. 2g) and NH3 (Fig. The temperature used in the Henry constant is the included in VensimÒ and based on the Powell algorithm (Powell. outside temperature (Ts) and not the pile temperature. yields of biodegradation   reactions are constant when expressed in terms of COD dNO3  ¼ Y NO3  la  NX a ð7Þ (Pommier et al. litter. 2006). They were calibrated by using the comparison the Henry constant (KH) depending on temperature (Sommer between observed and simulated temperature and emissions of et al. temperature. depending on the type of solid manure between the temperature rises of the various piles is correctly rep- (cattle. The quality of simulations is similar for all 11 piles. oxygen and humidity. CO2 (Fig. are considered to be applicable in all cases of gen (90% of Nav). For pIntLG NH3.

F and G after 40 days. moisture and is higher in the case of pile G (Fig. 4a). bration can appear unrealistic. influencing NH3 emission. The 11 piles were built to represent the wide range of compost- ing situations for solid manure on farms. The molasses was used. 11%.013 0.4 0. 27% for biodegradation of the substrate. The relative differences between total emis. and NH3 processes and in temperature dynamics correctly. pile F than in the case of pile G (smaller limiting factor.3% COD).110 100 105 0.60 0. concerning either the biodegradation or the nitrogen process. The ratio of COD con. the model correctly represents the partition between consistent with pile composition in most of the cases studied. 4e). oxygen is less limiting for nitrogen in a generic model for all types of solid manure. can be (Fig.31 0. Fig. promoting higher oxygen avail- G. while the simula.200 100 105 0.4. The total N2O emission was around tion led to a lower fraction of biodegradable substrate when 1% of ammonia emission and less than 1% of initial nitrogen. H2O.e. They are pile G than in pile F (Fig. also showed Therefore. 4d. In terms of understanding. Therefore. the lower the limitation degree and conversely. and h) and also the time interval between the emission increases Therefore. Knowing the nature of the substrate added. ture limited heterotrophic growth more markedly in the case of considering qualitative knowledge of the piles. the module. (ii) Oxygen limitation of the biomass growth is these results are highly consistent. As shown. 2d ter pile. (iv) Moisture limited microbial activity more severely in biodegradation processes after the pile has been set up.594 D. composting duration. are given in Table 2. for example. Therefore.100 0.20 F 0.3. a similar value of 60% biodegradable initial COD Fig.37 105 0. ability during the next few days. biodegradable substrate will lead to acidification. The water vapour losses are also correctly predicted processes of NH3 emission by only one parameter. emission of pile G may also be a consequence of an acidification ics were much higher than for CO2.1 and 0.3. Consistency of the specific parameters it possible to use the model as a tool for understanding the biologi The values of the 10 parameters specific to each composting cal–physical–chemical mechanisms that govern the composting mixture. The illustrations with 3 contrasted piles showed that the model represented the main fea. In the lat- ferences in peak emission of NH3 (between piles F and G: Fig. The initial management practices. B than for piles F or G. the choice to globally represent the ligible. In piles B and F. 2h shows that the simulations reproduce the observed dif. H2O or NH3 emissions. (5) and (6). pIntLG. weeks (Fig. tion of pile G is much higher than that of pile F during the first 2 ure or molasses: 100%). the model Limitation functions applied to the different processes connect structure is considered suitable to represent carbon and nitrogen the different composting mechanisms and thus the different interactions in static piles of solid manure. Considering these links makes 3. Comparison of observed and calculated temperature is considered appropriate for solid manure composting. The parameter pIntLG. on ammonia losses but to take a lower value when very easily tion considers the average temperature of all the pile.4 for pile induced lower moisture of pile G. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 degradation because CO2 emission is correctly estimated It was not necessary to introduce a temporal variation of the (Fig.003 0.60 0.100 0. The biomass growth in pile G).3% COD) than in the heterotrophic and autotrophic growth are plotted against the piles F and G (respectively 0. modules of the model. This result is reasonable because there In Fig. VFA may have blocked the biological reactions.143 0. in pile F during the first few days.28 G 0. was estimated while only 31% was estimated for pile G. parameter pIntLG.100 0. of the compost due to the presence of molasses. and the natural convection through the The calibrated value appeared inconsistent in the case of pile G. i.001 0. Table 2 Specific parameters calibrated for the 3 piles. With a few improvements in the model calibration.9 1. Oudart et al. and oxygen availability limited pounds that promoted ammonia retention for further assimilation. It must be underlined that the low ammonia relative differences between observed and simulated N2O dynam. 3.333 100 1. 4c). It is recom- biased in the present work by the fact that the observed temper. in Eqs.00 . where the biodegradation of molasses could produce acid com. However.0 0. 2b and f) and because other heat sources are taken to be neg. They also show the need to similar for piles F and G during the first few days. 2d and h). tempera- crucial for the model adaptation to specific composting situations. resulting in less sions observed or simulated were respectively 1%. the value of 31% of biodegradability given by the cali- of the various piles (between piles B and G: Fig. (v) During the first 3 days. mended to assume pIntLG = 1 when no information is available atures were monitored at the centre of the pile. COD was made with molasses instead of sawdust (pile F). Some examples are described below to heterotrophic biomass (tXh0) given by the model is higher for pile illustrate these capacities. 2g). The parameters concerning the heat model can help to choose the best operating conditions and and porosity modules are not discussed in this paper. Pile Biodegradation module Nitrogen module tCODb0 tXh0 tSR0 rRS tNXI0 tNav0 rNRS pIntLG pN2Onit pN2Odenit B 0. Therefore.3. sensible and latent heat. we consider that. if acidification occurred Most N2O emission was observed during the first week after in pile G due to the presence of very easily biodegradable COD. setting up the pile. the higher the value of the limitation function. Output of the model: importance of interactions between tures and the main differences in emissions of CO2. pile with the associated sensible heat loss (convective heat losses).0 0. 2g). for the case of solid manure composting on Calibrated values of initial biodegradable COD (tCODb0) were farms. This can explain why the calibra- piles B.408 100 0. then the function include the interactions between biodegradation. the following tent between the rapid and the slow initial COD (rRS) was smaller main observations can be made for the piles F and G: (i) Evapora- in pile F (with sawdust: 0. (iii) Substrate is always less abundant parameters describing the initial biomass and the initial fraction (smaller limiting factor) in the case of pile G than for pile F of rapid COD are necessary to represent the acceleration of the (Fig. evaporation in pile F during the second week.37%) than in piles B or G (with solid man. higher initial evaporation as for the majority of the 11 piles) while it was equal to 0. 4 the dynamics of some various limitation functions of was a higher fraction of pig manure in pile B (1. it can be deduced that temperature limited evaporation consistent values: it was equal to 1 for piles B and F (no restriction.390 1.

nitrogen (b). Conclusions limiting factor was close to 0. pile G (thick grey line). Fig.4 0.8 0.0 1. The higher NH3 emission of pile F can be explained by a stronger ammonification process due to higher temperatures (Fig.7 for piles G and F during the first week. It also induced early limitation by N (nitrogen limiting factor was This work was carried out with the financial support of the scien- close to 0.1 (b) 0.2 0.6 0.2 0.0 1. nitrogen (higher values of the nitrogen limiting factor of pile G This model can be used to improve the understanding of interac- compared to pile F after the first week.0 0.7 0. oxygen (d). After a few days.7 Liming factor Liming factor 0.2 0.8 0. The growth. NH3).0 0.3 0.7 Liming factor Liming factor 0.5 0.4 0. 4c) inducing an abundance of available nitrogen (nitrogen 4.5 0.3 0. Both lower mois.4 0. D.9 0. Fig.6 0. inducing higher heterotrophic viour of solid manure during composting in static piles.7 0. the conservation of tific group ‘‘Green Pork production’’ (GIS Porcherie Verte). / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 595 1. the moisture content of pile G The proposed model shows a degree of complexity sufficient for decreased (Fig. 0 = growth stopped): limitation of heterotrophic growth by moisture (a).8 0.9 0.6 0.5 0. dynamics of variables used to describe the main processes are well ture and higher heterotrophic growth reduced the ability of pile G handled (temperature. In this case. emissions of CO2. tions between mechanisms occurring in composting and to help In the case of pile B. temperature (c). pile F (thick black line).0 1.9 0.9 0. Higher initial biomass (Xh0) induced higher temperatures Acknowledgements (Figs. Oudart et al. Fig.1 (d) 0. Fig. 4c and 2e). (Fig.0 0.4 0.0 0.9 0.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Fig. H2O. G at the beginning. Simulated dynamics of some limiting factors (1 = unlimited growth. NH3 volatilization of pile F was smaller than of pile G at the competition between microbial growth and ammonia emission as beginning of composting and it became higher after 3 days organic nitrogen is mineralized.3 0. it to volatilize NH3 compared to pile F.6 0. 4d).0 0. 2b). NH3 emission was higher than in piles F and in its optimization.9 0. The parameter pIntLG also was possible to predict gas emissions for 11 study cases character- contributed to little NH3 emission despite the abundance of ized by contrasting initial compositions and operating conditions.3 0.8 0.8 0.2 0.6 0.2 0.5 0.1 (f) 0.1 (c) 0.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1.2 after 4 days. Pile B (thin black line).5 0. The model can help to explain the rapid French National Research Agency (ANR) in project ANR-08-STRA- rise in NH3 emission and the smaller nitrogen loss by the dynamic 15 ISARD (Intensification des Systèmes de production Agricole par . Therefore.0 0. shown by higher CO2 emission (Fig. 4.4 0. 4b).0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1.8 0.3 0. but then became smaller than F and G emis- sions.6 0.2 0. which explain the rapid rise in NH3 emission.3 0. Oxygen was more abundant in pile G (oxygen the simultaneous simulation of the physical and biochemical beha- limiting factor was higher.4 0. 4b).7 Liming factor Liming factor 0. the nitrogen was improved. 4b).1 (e) 0.1 (a) 0. substrate (e).7 0. 4a).5 0. 2d). limitation of autotrophic growth by oxygen (f).

08 Gujer et al.2 Tremier et al. (2000) ba h1 Decay of autotrophic biomass 0. tions (the sum of the coefficients of one line equals zero.08 Gujer et al. Becker for language corrections and indicated in the last column of the same line). all Nasser Abd El Kader. Appendix A. degrees with our team: Laure Comont. We finally acknowledge the technicians from fluxes contributing to one compartment are given in one tN Xh bh  X h heterotrophic tN XI tN XI biomass Decay of 1 f I. Crête d’Or Entreprise. (1999) qairsec kg m3 Density of air (parameter considered constant in equations. (2) pmaxdenit  NO3  f limNO3  f limTdenit .374 Wikipedia tNXh kg N kg1 COD Nitrogen content of the heterotrophic biomass tNXI 1 ba  NX a tN Xh tNXh autotrophic biomass Ammonia 1 1 (1) volatilization Denitrification 1 pN 2 Odenit 1  pN2 Odenit (2) Q air f limHum KHpIntLG (1) qairsec V air  RgpT S  ð0:9  N av Þ. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 le Recyclage des Déchets). (1999) fI. clarifications.2 Henze et al. INRA and CIRAD who helped in the experiments and sample analysis each flux equals the coefficient of one cell multiplied by the rate and M.D. Luth. (2005) pmaxdenit g N-(N2O + N2) Maximum rate of denitrification 1 Optimization g1 N-NO3 j1 with VensimÒ Rgp J K1 mol1 Ideal gas constant 8. or Ph.Generic parameters of the model. We acknowledge Adeline Vion for her support during the work. Corson and S. kg COD kg1 COD Proportion of inert COD coming from biomass death f I. (1999) tNXI kg N kg1 COD Nitrogen content of the inert COD produced 0.596 D. Process State variables Rate NXRB NXSB NXI Nav NXh NXa NO3 NH3 N2O N2 Rapid hydrolysis 1 1 kHR  NX RB Slow hydrolysis 1 1 kHS  NX SB Growth of tN Xh tN Xh lh  X h heterotrophic biomass Growth of 1  Y NO3 1 Y NO3 Y NO3  pN 2 Onit  Y NO3  pN 2 Onit  la  NX a autotrophic ð1  pN2 Onit Þ pN 2 Odenit ð1  pN 2 Odenit Þ biomass Decay of tN Xh  f I. and several colleagues who worked dard representation that indicates the stoichiometry of the reac- on their M. Oudart et al.15 Oudart (2013) influence of temperature and water vapour) .03 (2000) lhmax h1 Maximum specific growth rate of heterotrophic biomass 0. despite known 1. Variables and parameters: the following tables describe the notations used in this paper.0083 Gujer et al. Parameter Unit Description Value References lamax h1 Maximum specific growth rate of autotrophic biomass Henze et al. (1999) YNO3 kg N kg1 N Nitrate production yield 33 Gujer et tNXI f I. Modelling equations of nitrogen module ject EMAFUM. Sébastien Pommier for his help with the implementation Petersen matrix of nitrogen module. The Petersen matrix is a stan- of the biodegradation module.Sc. and the ADEME pro.

2 Oudart (2013) tXh0 kg COD kg1 COD Initial proportion of heterotrophic biomass in total COD 0.15– Oudart (2013) considered inert during the composting) 0. Oudart et al.g 0–1 Oudart (2013) pN2Odenit g N-N2O Maximum emission of N2O relative to N2O + N2 emission 0–0.5% Oudart (2013) flimHum – Water content limitation 0–1 Maximum possible range flimNav – Nitrogen limitation 0–1 Maximum possible range flimNO3 – Nitrate limitation 0–1 Maximum possible range flimO2a – Oxygen limitation of autotrophic growth 0–1 Maximum possible range flimO2h – Oxygen limitation of heterotrophic growth 0–1 Maximum possible range flimSR – Substrate limitation of heterotrophic growth 0–1 Maximum possible range flimT – Temperature limitation of heterotrophic growth 0–1 Maximum possible range flimTdenit – Temperature limitation of denitrification 0–2 Hénault and Germon (2000) flimTnit – Temperature limitation of autotrophic growth 0–1 Maximum possible range KH atm L mol1 Henry constant 0.1 Oudart (2013) g1 N-nitrified rNRS kg N kg1 N Initial ratio of rapidly to slowly biodegradable nitrogen 105– Maximum 100 possible range rRS kg COD kg1 COD Initial ratio of rapidly to slowly biodegradable COD 105– Maximum 100 possible range tCODb0 kg COD kg1 COD Initial ratio of biodegradable COD to total COD (the other fraction is 0. D.08 Sommer et al. limited by water content and nitrogen 0–0.05 Model variables. Parameter Unit Description Range References pIntLG – Surface exchange coefficient between NH+4 and NH3.003 Oudart (2013) biodegradable fraction N2 kg N Nitrogen emitted as dinitrogen Depends on pile Oudart (2013) size N2O kg N Nitrogen emitted as nitrous oxide Idem Oudart (2013) Nav kg N Available nitrogen for biomass growth Idem Oudart (2013) NH3 kg N Nitrogen emitted as ammonia Idem Oudart (2013) NH3.9 Oudart (2013) g1 N-(N2O + N2) pN2Onit g N-N2O N2O emission relative to ammonium nitrified 0–0.03 Henze et al.g kg N Available nitrogen (Nav) available for ammonia emission Idem Oudart (2013) NH+4 kg N Available nitrogen (Nav) available for conversion into NH3. Variable Unit Description Range 1 la h Specific growth rate of autotrophic biomass 0–0. / Waste Management 46 (2015) 588–598 597 Specific parameters of initial pile. (2000) bh h1 Decay of heterotrophic biomass (depends on pile temperature) 0–2.6 tNav0 kg N kg1 N Initial ratio of available nitrogen to total nitrogen 105–1 Maximum possible range tNXI0 kg N kg1 N Initial ratio of inert nitrogen to total nitrogen 105–1 Maximum possible range tSR0 kg COD kg1 COD Initial ratio of soluble substrate to total COD 0–0. (2006) kHR h1 Rapidly hydrolysis constant.2 Henze et al. limited by water content and slow 0–0.009 Oudart (2013) kHS h1 Slow hydrolysis constant.g Idem Oudart (2013) NO3 kg N Nitrate produced Idem Oudart (2013) NXa kg N Nitrogen in the autotrophic biomass Idem Oudart (2013) NXh kg N Nitrogen in the heterotrophic biomass Idem Oudart (2013) NXi kg N Inert nitrogen Idem Oudart (2013) NXRB kg N Nitrogen in the rapidly biodegradable fraction of COD Idem Oudart (2013) (continued on next page) .002–0. (2000) lh h1 Specific growth rate of heterotrophic biomass 0–0.001– Oudart (2013) 0.

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