Compost CO2 analysis cut to seconds with G100 analyser from Geotech

CO2 analysis speed benefits compost producers and test lab

The Geotech G100 has halved CO2 analysis time and saved money at Dundee-based Sustainagro. This PAS100 accredited lab, one of a very few in the UK, tests compost for commercial compost producers and councils or local authorities.

They all make serious use of compost to optimise growth for landscaping, agriculture, horticulture and sports turf. For these compost producers, Sustainagro analyses compost bacterial respiration of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the WRAP ORG0020 method, which is accredited to BSI PAS 100 standard.

To check CO2 levels air is pumped into a flask containing sodium hydroxide, (or caustic soda) (NaOH) which removes the carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2-free air passes into a second flask containing the compost sample. The Geotech G100 CO2 analyser measures the CO2 coming from the compost and the lab checks the sample is producing no more CO2 than the allowed maximum of 16mg CO2/g organic matter per day, which can be easily read on the G100 and extrapolated.

According to former development manager for Sustainagro, Adrian Parker, before the lab had the G100 and could measure in real-time it used a titration method. "That took ages, several hours, just to do one. With the G100 it is much quicker and we can have several different flasks and compost samples running. They have to be left for three days to stabilise before taking measurements. I simply move the analyser input tube between the flasks and measure each, as I need, in a moment, in seconds.

That's improved efficiency by more than 50 percent which is a lot of money in this business and means we can offer customers a much faster and more accurate service." Darcy Bertie, managing director and Dr Jane Leitch, principal research scientist for Sustainagro both agree that this procedure will be beneficial to both sides of the business.

"The G100 is really easy to use. From taking it out of the box I had totally understood it in less than an hour. It was really easy. There are a couple of User Manual discs with everything you need and you just set the G100 and start it - and you are up and running. It has been working really well. Compost is very moist which the filters handle and the G100 has built in moisture removal," said Adrian who keeps the G100 running continuously using the data logging facility and downloads to a PC.

He said the service and support from his supplier GEM Scientific has been excellent in making sure the moisture filters and moisture removal was working perfectly with such a wet environment.

GEM Scientific is on 01924 444577, e-mail:

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