Composting is a robust and cheap biological treatment method useful for all solid biodegradable waste. The performance of composting can vary substantially depending on managing conditions such as oxygen supply and compost temperature. Oxygen and temperature affects the rate of degradation and may also influence emission of NH3 and N2O. The gaseous N losses during composting from organic household wastes can be substantial amounting to 26-51% of the total initial N present (Kirchmann and Widén, 1994). Another study showed that N losses from composted liquid manure mixed with straw consisted of over 95% of NH3 (Martins and Dewes, 1992). Most of the reminding 5% consisted of N2O, which is an important and unwanted greenhouse gas. Emission of N2O can occur during composting of household waste (Beck-Friis et al., 1999, Hellman et al., 1997). N2O can either be the end product of incomplete ammonium oxidation or the end product of incomplete denitrification.
In order to improve composting, the influence of the initial temperature strategy on degradation and emission of NH3 and N2O was studied.