Hot Pile Composting

This graphic illustrates the variables for "thermophilic" or "hot pile" composting. In this process the compost piles are made large enough so that they get hot inside. Typically a thermophilic compost pile will be about 1.5 meters tall minimum and about 1.5 meters wide minimum. The piles can be much larger depending on the equipment available to make and manage the piles.

Thermophilic compost piles are made from the proper mixture of carbon rich materials (like wood chips, crop waste, sawdust and dried leaves) and nitrogen rich materials (like food waste, manure and fresh green leaves). When the mixture is correct and it has the right moisture content, the pile will get hot inside. The heat comes from beneficial aerobic (oxygen breathing) bacteria that eat up all the food waste and (more slowly) eat the carbon materials. Just like humans, bacteria give off body heat.

When the bacteria have eaten all the food waste and woody materials, whats left is finished compost which is a wonderful natural organic fertilizer. Thermophilic composting is used all over the world to efficiently compost large amounts of organic material.

More details on thermophilic composting.

(Thanks to Bodie C for creating this document.)