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Covered systems takes top spot at the Composting Associations annual awards

Covered Systems has won the Innovation in Composting Technology & Machinery Award, from the Composting Association at their annual award ceremony, for their Mistral Aeration System (patent pending1).

This the top award, recognises excellence and innovation across the composting industry, and is now established in setting the standards for the composting industry.

The award focuses on excellence in technological innovation in composting and the use of composted products, and is testimony to Covered System for creating a truly individual way to tackled the problem of odour control, an issue for many composters and is one that is almost guaranteed to generate negative publicity when things go awry.

Forced aeration during the ageing or maturation of organic residues is a very simple solution to the problem of odour build-up in maturing compost windrows. Traditional forced aeration at this stage of the process tends to be achieved by using in ground or above ground aeration systems that come with inherent problems. They are very expensive to install, limit the use of the concrete curing areas, create leachate collection problems and need constant cleaning. Also normally the aeration is positive i.e. it is forced up through the compost and therefore making the collection of the exhausted air very difficult unless it is inside a building.

The Mistral system overcomes these problems with a series of vertical pipes which are inserted mechanically into the compost from the top once the windrow or pile is formed or during formation. The vertical pipes are connected to a larger central air pipe which carries the air from the bottom of the windrow back to the fan which is sucking the air from the windrow. The air is then collected via this exit air pipe and then discharged to atmosphere via a bio-filter. The system can be used on any existing surface, is simple, low cost and contains any leachate within the compost mass where it is needed. This negative aeration technique is being used by Covered Systems in their in-vessel installations and has proved itself to be an efficient method of compost aeration. There is greater moisture and heat retention in the compost pile leading to faster degradation of the compost and a much more homogeneous mass. Each windrow has its own fan and timing mechanism which is programmed to complete a pre determined aeration cycle, constantly, 24 hours per day.

Success using Mistral has been achieved on all sites in the UK which have either trialled the product or who have now implemented it as a part of their operation. The system has been used with a number of different feedstocks from ordinary green waste, kerbside catering waste, vegetable waste and a recent trial has been commissioned on sewage sludge. The cost of installing the system and its on going use is around 70 pence per tonnage input of the site, including capital write off, over a five-year period and the labour needed to install the system.

The judges, who this year came from the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, the Open University, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, the Community Composting Network and the Composting Association, liked the fact that Covered Systems tackled a serious problem and has come up with a viable solution. They were impressed with this simple but effective answer and the fact that its implementation will allow composters to locate windrows in more sensitive areas.

An application for a patent protection for the Mistral Aeration system is currently pending.

For more information, visit http://www.coveredsystems.co.uk/

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