Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.


General Engineering

First Advisor

Jessica Kuczenski


Although studies show that people understand the negative effects of organic waste thrown into landfills, few take steps to help reduce the amount of methane pumped into the environment by composting their food scraps, garden waste, grass clippings, etc. Composting meets with resistance because it actually encompasses a complicated combination of factors and processes that involves knowledge, attention, and manual labor to perform correctly. Composting done improperly results in offensive odors such as ammonia and rotten eggs, a sloppy mess of half-decomposed raw materials, and an abundance of pests such as flies, racoons, and skunks. Individuals, communities, and cities often fail despite their collective desire to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases caused by the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in landfills.

However, by understanding how composting works and researching composting studies and patents, the project team designed and fabricated a composting reactor system that addresses the guesswork and labor associated with composting. The reactor uses sustainably sourced heat to create thermophilic conditions that accelerate the composting process and automates mixing through rotation, thus shifting composting from an art to a democratized science. The reactor was designed, fabricated, and delivered to Martial Cottle Park where it will reside and serve as a workshop demonstration device for future composters.

Included in

Engineering Commons