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The Inherent Energy of Compost

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Featured, Sustainability | 0 comments

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Fish on WallCompost, who could be against it? (1) It seems the sensible thing to do. It is definitely better than it used to be. The question to be asked is, do we get the most out of the organic garbage? Organic waste is in the following refered to as Biomass.
Compost is a waste of the Inherent Energy of biomass.
Biomass is much more than just the organic waste of house and gardening. A substantial part of man-made Biomass is the sewage. A nice way of saying human feces. Add to this the waste our pets produce, that’s quite a lot of biomass.
Biomass needs the energy of the sun in order to grow. This energy, or at least a big part of it, can be extracted if the biomass is fed into a Biogas plant.
Biogas is always preferably to compost. Compost yields only soil in the end. Biogas also yields soil in addition to Biogas. Biogas is the Inherent Energy of the Biomass. And the water is not lost due to evaporation, as it happens with compost. The water can circulate in a closed system. Losses will be compensated with rain water.
All organic matter, be it wastewater or kitchen and garden garbage can be used to produce Biogas.
One problem of the compost it has to be shifted constantly, so the biomass will not develop anaerobic pockets in which Biogas is produced.
This is basically what happens in a landfill. If there is enough biomass and the humidity is right, the biomass will be devoured by Methane producing bacteria. The gas of landfills is being used quite often throughout the world. Problem with this method is, that the gas within the garbage can’t be controlled. No one knows how much of the greenhouse gas Methane escape into the atmosphere.
Anaerobic fermatation produces Methane, CH4. The problem is the CO2 content in the Biogas, up to a third of the volume.
Here we return to compost.
There are certain ways, a challenge for chemists and engineers, to separate the CO2 from the Methane. The CO2 is It's Looking at Youfed to a pool with Cyanobacteria. (4) Cyanobacteria is regarded as the architect of our present atmosphere on earth. Without the bacteria there would not be enough oxygen for the diversity of life on earth. The bacteria feed on the CO2 convert it to oxygen.
In the times of communism was a slogan: To learn from the enemy is to learn how to win.
Thank god those times are long gone and shall never return. But if we exchange the word enemy with friend it will come true.
Friend in this context is nature. Learn from nature and we learn to win!
Millions of years ago the Cyanobacteria changed the atmosphere so life, as we know it today, could develop. No reason why we should not emulate to the natural process.
At this point we return to compost. The algae is harvested and composted, thus the CO2 is bound and is not again released into the atmosphere. So in principle compost is not obsolete, but most of the time it is a waste of Inherent Energy!

John Oliver from Last Week Tonight has an interesting take on Food Waste;


For further reading:


2. Biogas

3. Landfill Gas

4. Cyanobacteria

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