Experimental Compost Heat Recovery System

Due to complications in construction, the Compost Heat Recovery System Project has been discontinued.


If you’ve ever turned a pile of compost then you’ve seen the steam that rises from within. Heat is being produced inside that compost pile as a by-product of the microbial breakdown of the organic material present. In an effort to harness this heat and use it as a renewable form of energy, RAD Facilities’ Sustainabillibuddies designed the Experimental Compost Heat Recovery System.


The Design

With $3700.00 of funding by the CEC, the Compost Heat System was underway and would consist of 18 55 gallon barrels, 1000 feet of PEX tubing and a really big pile of mulch.


The PEX tubing is coiled inside the 55 gallon barrels, which are then placed two high inside a stall that is lined with cyclone fencing. These barrels will then be covered with the mulch so that, once all the mulch is piled over and around them, they are located at the center of the pile. The PEX tubing that is inside the barrels will carry water which will absorb the heat produced through the microbial digestion of the mulch and will transport this heat into MOD 302, where it will be used to provide domestic hot water. Through the installation of hydronic (water) baseboard radiators, this compost generated heat will also be used to heat the MOD, thus significantly reducing the power requirments of the unit. In the event of heat failure, there is a liquid propane instant hot water heater as backup.

Temporarily Out of Order

Due to an error in the construction of the mulch pile, it is not currently providing enough heat for the MOD. This error has been identified and steps are being taken to remedy the situation.