Greenhouse gas emissions from compost in a respirometer

Vercoe, Stephen (2004). Greenhouse gas emissions from compost in a respirometer B.Sc Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Vercoe, Stephen
Thesis Title Greenhouse gas emissions from compost in a respirometer
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Dr Bill Clark
Total pages 23
Language eng
Subjects 290600 Chemical Engineering
Formatted abstract

Carbon dioxide and methane gases are greenhouse gases produced both naturally and through human activity. As the greenhouse effect is generally regarded as a long-term environmental problem, sources of greenhouse gas emissions are of general interest and especially those from human activity.  

This experiment was designed to investigate probable carbon dioxide emissions and possible methane gas emissions from a simulated compost in a respirometer in a laboratory. The results, however, were not accurate and possible explanations for why this is the case are explored and discussed.  

A compost sample was designed, manufactured, and placed in a respirometer. Air was passed through the vessel and samples of the effluent air were analysed by a gas chromatograph specifically set-up to detect carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) concentrations. In this experiment, the carbon dioxide levels detected were lower than the concentration of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere (levels detected were around half of that of air) which points to obvious large errors. The results are therefore inconclusive.  

There are a number of improvements which could be made to the design for this experiment if it is repeated in the future. These improvements include incorporating prepared natural compost within the sample to introduce organisms which occur naturally in backyard compost heaps and incorporating analysis of the gas chromatograph calibration before the experiment begins.

Keyword Greenhouse gas emission
Additional Notes * Chemical Engineering undergraduate theses. 2004

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 15 Oct 2013, 13:36:05 EST by Mr Yun Xiao on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service