Analysis of a Waste Management Process using Principal Components Analysis and Data Visualisation

Micaela A. R. Soares, Margarida J. Quina,  Marco S. Reis, Rosa M. Quinta-Ferreira

CIEPQPF – Chemical Engineering Department, University of Coimbra, Polo II – Rua Sílvio Lima, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal)


Waste management is a critical activity in modern society. Composting is a well-known process that has been used in waste management for more than 2 decades. In this study we will analyse its ability to treat Eggshell (ES), the by-product of egg processing industry, whose annual production ascends nowadays to 350,000 tonnes in Europe. Being a biological process, its mechanistic analysis is very complex, as well as requires the complete knowledge of many fundamental parameters whose measurement may not be viable or reliable. However, data collected directly from composting processes provides another viable way to accumulate information and knowledge that could also lead to useful insights. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) is a multivariate technique that seeks to unravel the main relationships structuring the variability of a data set. In this presentation, we will explore its application to data collected from an experimental study designed to acquire rigorous quantitative information of the composting process regarding the effect of incorporating high levels (up to 60%) of inorganic matter (eggshell) in composting mixtures with usual organic matter (potato peel and rice husk).