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Tinytags Radio Loggers Used to Monitor Temperature in Organic Compost Process

Tinytag radio data loggers are used to monitor the temperature of ‘green compost’ processes to produce organic, peat free compost.

Green garden and kitchen waste is recycled to produce organic compost. Wireless Tinytag data loggers monitor the temperature of Windrows during the maturation stage of this composting process.

Radio data loggers for organic compost temperature monitoring

Green garden and kitchen waste is being recycled by Vital Earth to help save the peat bogs and address the UK's landfill issues. The output is organic, peat free compost and a Tinytag Radio Data Logging System monitors the temperature of the 'green compost' during processing. This £10 million site in the Derbyshire Dales is one of the most advanced in-vessel composting sites in the UK. Nationally 99,000 tonnes of green waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, is collected over a 12-month period. This is cleaned of debris (glass, metal, plastic) and water added before being enclosed in a carefully controlled vessel, where it aerates. This process allows the friendly bacteria to heat up naturally while destroying weeds and disease-causing pathogenic microorganisms. The temperature needs to exceed 60° for two days on two occasions to satisfy DEFRA; Vital Earth ensures it reaches a minimum temperature of 65° for PAS100 during the sanitisation stage.

During the subsequent maturation stage, the Tinytag Radio system is used to track a rising temperature over a period of about 6 weeks, and then a temperature levelling trend that informs when the material is stable and ready for the next stage. During this period, the material is housed in a two acre building called a Maturation Hall, which has the capacity for 14,000 tonnes of material. Here it is heaped into 24 separate heaps called 'windrows' where it continues to aerate, cool and mature. Tinytag radio loggers and probes are placed in the windrows to track this process.

By monitoring the temperature in this way, the technical team at Vital Earth is able to follow, from their desktop computer, the trend of the bacteria heating up, the compost maturing and then cooling. The Tinytag probes first send their temperature recordings to a Tinytag receiver positioned in the roof of the Maturation Hall, which in turn transmits to a computer in the control room. The Radio system provides the reliability and accuracy essential in the aeration process, as well as convenience.

The Tinytag Radio Data Logging System has the potential to integrate with Modbus, the software used for the process control side of the business. The Tinytags are connected to the control network via Ethernet, for display and to save the graph data to hard drive for traceability purposes. A trial to close loop Tinytag's temperature information to control the fans in the Maturation Hall is being considered.

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