Close
Free phone 0800 022 027
Search
Filters

Sun-Mar Technology

How do Composting Toilets Work?

Every living organism consumes nutrients and creates waste. To transform waste back to nutrients and complete this cycle, nature uses the processes of decomposition and evaporation. As is often the case, nature seems to be doing business in the best way possible. That’s why Sun-Mar toilets are designed not only to harness these natural processes but to optimize and accelerate them.

Toilet waste is over 90% water content. This can be evaporated and carried back to the atmosphere through the vent system. The small amount of remaining material is recycled into a useful fertilizing soil. Sun-Mar units are economical, quick to install and easy to use because no chemicals and no septic systems are used, fragile environments can be protected. A Sun-Mar composting unit is an environmentally healthy choice for recycling human waste. The Sun-Mar system produces no pollutants while collecting nutrients. With a Sun-Mar, recycling is made easy!

As well as ensuring anaerobic breakdown in the Bio-drum, Sun-Mar ensures an odor free environment by engineering the air flow within the unit to maintain a partial vacuum at all times. Air is being drawn in either by a fan (or on non-electric units by the vent pipe) over the evaporating chamber and up the vent stack. Not only does this evaporate excess liquid, but by continuously pulling air in we ensure no smell escapes from the unit.

Evaporation is assisted by electric units by a thermostatically controlled heater in a sealed compartment underneath the evaporating chamber.

The Composting Chamber
The Bio-Drum
The unique Sun-Mar Bio-Drum replicates the perfect environment for composting; combining moisture, warmth, organic material and oxygen. This design is patented.
The Bio-Drum allows aerobic microbes to flourish, which accelerates the breakdown of the waste.

Operation

There is a waste inlet port at the top of the drum that allows the waste, along with a bulking agent, to enter the drum. In order to aerate the composting matter, periodically turn the handle (on the front of the self-contained unit or on the side of the central units) to rotate the drum. The inlet door will automatically close during this process to ensure that no compost leaves the drum. When it is time to empty the contents of the Bio-drum, you will need to release the drum locker and turn the drum backwards. This will force the inlet port to open, allowing the compost to drop into the finishing drawer. After this process is complete, the bio-drum will lock itself back into place and the drum will be ready to receive new waste.

Advantages of the Bio-drum

Supplying Oxygen

The Bio-Drum system ensures the compost is thoroughly mixed and oxygenated. In fact, The Bio-drum is the most effective and simplest way to achieve this kind of oxygenation.
Every time you rotate the drum, the entire pile of compost is imbued with oxygen. Oxygen is integral to the composting process. It allows aerobic bacteria to break down compost quickly and without any unpleasant odours.

Moisture control

Our patented Bio-Drum offers a moisture control benefit that is exclusive to the Bio-Drum design. Moisture control is integral to successful composting. If the moisture content is below 40% the composting process will slow down and eventually stop. The Bio-Drum is designed so that direct heat is never applied to the compost, meaning it won’t dry out. The regular tumbling process also distributes the moisture evenly through the compost.

When moisture rises above 60%, oxygen begins to dissipate from a compost pile, leaving it to become increasingly anaerobic (similar to a septic system). The Bio-Drum system, however, works to avoid this by allowing excess fluid to drain through a screen at the base of the drum into an evaporation chamber. This optimizes the speed of the composting process.

Temperature Control

As the microbe’s work, they generate heat, which is largely retained in the compost pile by virtue of its mass. Ordinarily, this provides adequate heat to attain optimum composting conditions. However, in colder locations, where the ambient temperature is regularly below 13 degrees C, we generally supply a 240-volt unit, which includes a heater. A thermostat controls the heat output to prevent the compost from drying out, which would otherwise slow down the processing.

The perfect environment for Aerobic Bacteria

The enemy of composting is anaerobic bacteria; an uneven distribution or lack of oxygen, and excess moisture harbour such bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria create nasty odours and inhibit waste from breaking down quickly. Aerobic bacteria transform waste into carbon dioxide and water, leaving behind simple salts, which are perfect for re-absorption by plants.
The exceptional oxygenation, moisture and temperature control created by the Sun-Mar Bio-Drum provides the ideal environment for aerobic bacteria to flourish and break down organic waste rapidly and without odour.

Evaporation Chamber

Compost needs to be kept moist. It should not, however, be saturated. To avoid this in a Sun-Mar composting toilet, excess liquid drains from the compost mass through a stainless-steel mesh screen, where it collects in an evaporation chamber. The essential difference between the non-electric or 12 volt NE model and the 240-volt electric model is the provision of a heater under the evaporation tray in the electric unit. The difference between the two types of model is explained below.

On all micro-flush systems, the liquid falls first onto an evaporating tray and then to the main evaporating surface. The tray not only helps oxygenate this liquid, it also traps any peat mix debris, and almost doubles the evaporating surface. Evaporating trays can be removed and cleaned if necessary, through the door opening on Centrex 2000 units, and through the drawer access port on Centrex 3000 units.

For optimum results, evaporation is assisted on 240 Volt electric models by a thermostatically controlled heating element. Sealed in a compartment underneath the evaporating chamber, the heater warms the floor of the evaporating chamber without drying out the compost. In non-electric units, although some liquid is evaporated by passive venting, the overflow drains must always be connected.

Finishing Drawer

The benefits of the separate Compost Finishing Drawer

The benefits of housing older compost in a separate finishing compartment are innumerable. Perhaps the most significant of these is the fact that new waste can’t contaminate this older processing compost. The humus that is processing in the finishing drawer can compost gradually without the addition of any new waste, and can then be safely removed via the easy to access drawer.

How the unit’s work (aside from the Centrex 3000 series)

When the drum is rotated backwards, the humus drops into the finishing drawer, where it is isolated from any new waste.

The humus in the drawer continues to compost, aided by a flow of air. Once the composting is complete the small and lightweight drawer is removed by hand, without the need for any tools, and emptied in your garden.

The process is then repeated by rotating the drum to deposit another lot of humus into the drawer.

Centrex 3000 Range

The Centrex 3000 works on a continuous flow design to maximise its capacity and improve the composting process. As the composting drum fills, the rotation of the drum forces the compost along the length of the Centrex 3000 drum then automatically discharges finished compost into a separate collection box.

Unlike with the smaller Centrex 2000, the drum doesn’t have to be rotated anti-clock for emptying (except for seasonal use). For seasonal use, the drum can be emptied in the Spring by rotating the drum backwards and dropping compost into a collection drawer on the right-hand side of the unit