Characterization of the gaseous and odour emissions from the composting of conventional sewage sludge

Daniel González, Nagore Guerra, Joan Colón, David Gabriel, Sergio Ponsá, Antoni Sánchez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many different alternatives exist to manage and treat sewage sludge, all with the common drawback of causing environmental and odour impacts. The main objective of this work is to present a full inventory of the gaseous and odorous emissions generated during the bench-scale composting of conventional sewage sludge, aiming at assessing the process performance and providing global valuable information of the different gaseous emission patterns and emission factors found for greenhouse gases (GHG) and odorant pollutants during the conventional sewage sludge composting process. The main process parameters evaluated were the temperature of the material, specific airflow, average oxygen uptake rate (OUR), and final dynamic respiration index (DRI), resulting in a proper performance of the sewage sludge composting process and obtaining the expected final product. The obtained material was properly stabilized, presenting a final DRI of 1.2 ± 0.2 g 02-h-1-kg-1 Volatile Solids (VS). GHGs emission factor, in terms of kg C02eq-Mg-1 dry matter of sewage sludge (DM-SS), was found to be 2.30 x 102. On the other hand, the sewage sludge composting odour emission factor (OEF) was 2.68 x 107ou-Mg-1 DM-SS. Finally, the most abundant volatile organic compounds (VOC) species found in the composting gaseous emissions were terpenes, sulphur compounds, ketones, and aromatic hydrocarbons, whereas the major odour contributors identified were dimethyldisulphide, eucalyptol, and tx-pinene.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number211
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Composting
  • Gaseous emission
  • Greenhouse gases (GHG)
  • Odour
  • Sewage sludge
  • Vocs


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