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Publication Detail
Closed-loop Organic Waste Management Systems for Family Farmers in Brazil.
Abstract
Family farmers in Brazil could diversify their sources of income source and improve agriculture practices by adopting circular economy principles on their farms. Closed-loop technological systems can be used to manage organic waste and produce fertilizer and biogas thereby generating revenue. Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology that can produce digestate (i.e. fertilizer) and biogas from organic waste, although digestate application in soil and crops without treatment can have adverse effects. However, in practice, there is a lack of knowledge about the benefits of recycling organic waste in farming communities in Brazil. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to provide conceptual design configurations of closed-loop systems that manage organic waste and generate revenue for small farms in Brazil. A literature review of selected technologies and interviews with Brazilian family farmers were used to inform the components of the proposed conceptual designs. The proposed designs are based on circular economy principles, incorporating anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis for biochar, hydroponics and vermifiltration in various configurations. A complete closed-loop system consisting of a 7.5 m3 digester, pyrolysis unit, a combined hydroponic and vermifilter unit and a shredder is estimated to cost around USD$1600 (R$ 6600). The flexibility of the proposed systems has the potential to increase resilience and income for small-scale farmers, whist encouraging good practices for waste management. The conceptual designs can be used as a basis for further research and development of small-scale organic waste management solutions in Brazil.
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Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
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Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
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The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction
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