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Energies 2018, 11(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11020449

Energy Analysis of a Rotary Drum Bioreactor for Composting Tomato Plant Residues

1
Department of Agricultural Engineering, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
2
Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21526, Egypt
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 19 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Bioenergy and Biofuel)
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Abstract

Energy produced from plant residue composting has stimulated great interest in heat recovery and utilization. Composting is an exothermic process often controlled through temperature measurements. However, energy analysis of the overall composting system, especially the rotary bioreactors, is generally not well known and very limited. This study presents detailed energy analysis in a laboratory-scale, batch-operated, rotary bioreactor used for composting tomato plant residues. The bioreactor was considered as a thermodynamic system operating under unsteady state conditions. The composting process was described, the input generated and lost energy terms as well as the relative importance of each term were quantitatively evaluated, and the composting phases were clearly identified. Results showed that the compost temperature peaked at 72 h of operation reaching 66.7 °C with a heat generation rate of 9.3 W·kg−1 of organic matter. During the composting process, the accumulated heat generation was 1.9 MJ·kg−1 of organic matter; only 4% of this heat was gained by the composting material, and 96% was lost outside the bioreactor. Contributions of thermal radiation, aeration, cylindrical, and side-walls surfaces of the reactor on the total heat loss were 1%, 2%, 69%, and 28%, respectively. The information obtained is applicable in the design, management, and control of composting operations and in improvement of bioreactor effectiveness and productivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: composting; tomato plant residues; heat generation; loss; rotary bioreactor composting; tomato plant residues; heat generation; loss; rotary bioreactor
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Alkoaik, F.N.; Abdel-Ghany, A.M.; Rashwan, M.A.; Fulleros, R.B.; Ibrahim, M.N. Energy Analysis of a Rotary Drum Bioreactor for Composting Tomato Plant Residues. Energies 2018, 11, 449.

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