Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anaerobic compost results

It was almost exactly a year ago that I filled my anaerobic compost bin.  I haven't written much about it since then.  I was busy with other things, and it really didn't do much.  It did produce gas, but I never figured out what to do with it.  I tried to hook it up to a single burner stove, but that didn't work.  I could never get it to light.  I know that the gas was flammable.  I was able to light it coming straight out of the barrel.  I only did that once though.  The 12" flame made me think twice about doing it again.  So whenever the barrel rose up I just opened the valve and released the gas.
I didn't benefit from the methane it produced, but at least I got great compost right?  Well, not really.  I had read that it would take a year for the anaerobic composting to complete.  So I went out the other day and removed the trashcan.  I was very surprised to see that it had hardly composted at all.  I could still identify leaves and pine shavings.

I removed some of the water with a 5-gallon bucket.  Once the water was low enough I tipped the barrel over and dumped it out.

It stunk something fierce.  Luckily the smell went away after a day or two.

I'm not really sure what I did wrong.  I know something was happening in that barrel.  Methane gas was produced, but it hardly looks like any decomposition occurred after an entire year.

I don't think I'll be trying this again.  I'll stick to plain old aerobic composting from now on.

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