Windrow Composting Process

By | May 12, 2018




What is Windrow Composting ?

windrow composting is the production of compost by piling organic matter or biodegradable waste. Such as animal manure and crop residues. This method is suited to producing large volumes of compost.



Vegetable waste with high moisture content and readily biodegradable nature is causing major environmental problems due to improper waste management practices in the World. So, composting and Vermi composting could be considered the best alternative for the treatment of these organic fractions.


Even though it is very difficult to attribute the birth of composting. The history of urban waste generation and its management begins with human civilization and urbanization. During the Neolithic period when human beings changed their habitat  from essential hunters and gatherers to farmers. They started making pits out of stone for the storage of organic urban waste for the application of agricultural fields .


two types composting Process

Open Process

  •                 Agitated Pile
  •                Windrow Composting

Open composting process are the first types systems originated and practiced from the evolution of  composting  times,  which  also  includes  windrow  systems,  static and household systems.

Reactor Process

  •      Vertical Flow
  •     Horizontal Flow
  •   Non-flow (Batch)

Reactor systems include tunnel systems, the rotary drum and the reactor systems of various designs. Furthermore, based on the supply of aeration to the composting system they are classified into two; the agitated and the static system.

Windrow Composting Process


Windrow composting involves aerobic bioconversion of organic matter to stable compost with release of heat, water vapor and CO2, in which the pile composting can be used only for small quantities of input materials.

However the windrow composting allows large quantities of materials to be composted, having a geometrical shape ranging from 2 to 4 m wide and 2 to 3 m high at the starting of  Windrow composting  process.

These types of systems usually acquire a trapezoidal shape, depending on the nature of raw material used for composting.

Windrow Composting Process

Windrow composting involves aerobic bioconversion of organic matter to stable compost with release of heat, water vapor and CO2.

In which the pile composting can be use only for small quantities of input materials . However the windrow composting allows large quantities of materials to be composted. Having a geometrical shape ranging from 2 to 4 m wide and 2 to 3 m high at the starting of composting  process .

These types of systems usually acquire a trapezoidal shape. Depending on the nature of raw material used for composting. Before forming the windrow, the material is shredded and screened to 3 to 9 cm, with moisture content adjusted to 50-60%. Usually.

The windrows are turned twice in a week so that temperature is maintained at 55oC and the process is accomplished in 3-4 weeks. Furthermore for curing, the compost is  allow  without  turning  for  another  3-4  weeks for the degradation of residual organics.

The aerobic bioconversion reaction of organic waste has been expressed by the simplified chemical formula

(C H10O4 )a + 6.5O2 = (C6H10O4 )a1 + 6CO2 + 5H2O

The reaction (1) is strongly exothermic with an assumed heat of formation of the organic matter of 230 kcal/mol and it generates 616 kcal of heat per mole of organic matters reacted; with comparison the heat of biodegradation of glucose is – 673 kcal/mol to produce carbon dioxide and water . Addition of sawdust and sewage sludge along with the input material during composting process may improve the biodegradation process .

Sawdust which is rich in sugar and lignin components; and sewage sludge with high lipid content and enzyme forming microorganisms helps in the conversion process. In addition compost quality can also be increased by adding some of the inoculating agents such as cow manure, poultry manure and yard waste to the organic matter .

Windrow Composting Business plan <==  Click Here

Windrow composting of vegetable waste with 1.5 m high and  three metric  ton capacity has been studied for producing high quality green compost. In which a temperature controller has been placed at the core of the pile to monitor the temperature variance with a blower connected to it to maintain the temperature. From the work carried out, it has been suggested to perfect mechanical conditioning of vegetable waste, with the use of some slicer machinery that can be useful to prevent an excessive pulping of residues.

This windrow composting not only works on the volume reduction of the input waste material, but also makes good compost with quality parameters lying within the acceptable range set international standard. The compost had the appreciated amount of plant nutrients such as C (35%), N (0.05%), P (0.002%), Na (4.8%), K (0.35%) and pH ranging from 7.8 to 8.1 with organic matter of 45%, which can be used to maintain the soil fertility .

Windrow Composting

Turning frequencies in composting plays a major role in deciding the quality of the compost. In which the proper mixing of the waste ensures that organic matter receives equal exposure to the air at the surface and readily available to the microorganisms to feed on it for bioconversion.

In Windrow Composting Most importantly it releases heat, water vapor and gases, and restores. The gap eliminated by decomposition. Windrow Composting in the process makes the turning cycle critical.

Three days turning cycle will be suitable for organic matter greater than 70% and also organic matter of 50% in the process is not generally suitable.

Hence, therefore pilot studies for the turning frequencies must be carried out for the given waste for the betterment of the process. Therefore it has been suggested to minimize the width of the compost for better aeration and for frequent turnings to enable air intrusion.

Since the MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) has more than 60% of organic waste with 2.8% of nitrogen content, composting can be successfully used for making the compost from yard waste.



  • Composting is a great recycling process in which the resources are conserved in a more available form so that they can be most efficiently use. Unlike other chemical and physical disposal process such as burning and landfill. This biological means of disposing that is composting can add much advantage to the ecosystem by conserving the plant nutrients.
  • The application of windrow compost or any other compost can drastically reduce the usage of ammonia-type fertilizers. In which approximately 2% of  the  natural   gas   consumed in the United States is use up in the manufacture of these chemical fertilizers .
  • the compost is primarily focused on NPK and other micronutrients it can be well used as a fertilizer. Most of the nitrogen can be trapped into the compost if the loss of ammonia is reduced during the process. Application of compost as a fertilizer has improved the physical structure of the soil that includes potting soil mixtures. In addition there was an increased suppression of plant diseases caused by soil-borne nematodes, fungi and bacteria due to the addition of compost to the soil in various cropping systems .

Opportunity In Windrow Composting Business

Due to huge production of MSW and improper management practices. The country is facing a lot of environmental effects as well spending huge amount of fund in the solid waste management. The major problem is the composition of MSW in All over the World and the practices being followed. Since disposal and land filling is the major practice being followed. It is having a huge impact on environment by greenhouse gas emission, leach ate production and other air borne diseases.

The primary reason is only due to the 40-60% composition of organic waste in the MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). The best alternative for the issue is the source segregation of wet and dry waste at the generation point and opting suitable treatment process.

Many government policies have recommended composting and vermin-composting for the processing of organic (vegetable) waste as the sustainable method. Composting of vegetable waste may reduce the environmental impact on climate change by 40–70% compared to land filling and incineration.

If You Ready for Solid Waste Management and make a composting . You have large chance to solve big problem of the world and make a health of all the world and you make a Wealthy company in a few Years.


Windrow Composting Advantage and Disadvantage


  • Highly affected by weather (can be lessened by covering, but at increased cost).
  • Windrow Composting Proven technology on small scale .
  • Large volume of bulking agent required, leading to large volume of material to handle at each stage (including final distribution) .
  • Adaptable to changes in biosolids and bulking agent characteristics .
  • Low capital costs required in Windrow Composting .
  • Large land area required.
  • High potential for odor generation during turning; difficult to capture/contain air for treatment.
  • Minimally dependent on mechanical equipment.
  • Low energy requirements
  • Easy Repeat ability in Windrow Composting Business .
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