University of Maine CASE STUDY

In-Vessel Composting

Operator: University of Maine
Location: Orono, ME
Feedstock: Food Waste & Agricultural Waste
Capacity: 427 T/year
Year Installed: 2012
Project Components:
  • Automatic Mixing & Aeration
  • Biofilter
  • Moisture Addition System
  • Cold Climate Insulation Package
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Client’s Requirements

The University of Maine, dedicated to sustainability, generates a significant 450 tons of food waste yearly from its main dining facilities. This previously incurred an annual expenditure of over $65,000 for off-site composting. To curtail costs and introduce hands-on educational experiences, the University decided to pursue a fully circular, on-campus composting solution. To achieve this goal, the University of Maine needed an enclosed system able to efficiently process 450 tons per year with excellent odor control and the ability to withstand harsh Maine winters.

Our Solution

The University of Maine decided to invest in a 40' GMT Custom Steel Earth Flow system. This innovative technology has redefined composting by reducing food scraps to nutrient-rich soil in just three weeks, thanks to its high-performance mixing and aeration features. The combination of automated mixing, bulking agents, positive aeration, and bio-filtration make the award-winning in-vessel system a pristine small footprint composting environment, even in the harshest of weather conditions. In a recent winter, with outside temperatures plummeting to a bone-chilling -5°F, the Earth Flow maintained a consistently warm internal temperature of 140-150°F, showcasing its exceptional resilience and performance.

“Overall, our composting unit is a shining example of sustainability at the University of Maine. The mixing process creates a reaction between the carbon and nitrogen that produces heat as high as 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The composter can break down most anything, from vegetables to meats. This process takes 18 to 21 days, and when the compost comes out the other side, it is unrecognizable. After the three weeks in the composter, the dirt needs to set and cure for six to eight weeks and then is completely ready for use.”

-U-Main Campus Sustainability News 2021

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