Organic solid waste composting is a complex process that involves many coupled physical, chemical and biological mechanisms. To understand this complexity and to ease in planning, design and management of the composting plant, mathematical model for simulation is usually applied. The aim of this paper is to develop a mathematical model of organic substrate degradation and its performance evaluation in solid waste windrow composting system. The present model is a biomass-dependent model, considering biological growth processes under the limitation of moisture, oxygen and substrate contents, and temperature. The main output of this model is substrate content which was divided into two categories: slowly and rapidly degradable substrates. To validate the model, it was applied to a laboratory scale windrow composting of a mixture of wood chips and dog food. The wastes were filled into a cylindrical reactor of 6 cm diameter and 1 m height. The simulation program was run for 3 weeks with 1 s stepwise. The simulated results were in reasonably good agreement with the experimental results. The MC and temperature of model simulation were found to be matched with those of experiment, but limited for rapidly degradable substrates. Under anaerobic zone, the degradation of rapidly degradable substrate needs to be incorporated into the model to achieve full simulation of a long period static pile composting. This model is a useful tool to estimate the changes of substrate content during composting period, and acts as a basic model for further development of a sophisticated model.
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