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Characterizing the Generation of Elevated Temperature Landfills through Finite Element Modeling

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Thursday, September 16, 2021 4 pm to 5 pm

This is a past event.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Dr. Joel Ducoste, Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University

Presentation Abtract:

Some municipal solid waste landfills in the United States are exhibiting subsurface temperatures  nearing 150 °C and are being referred to as elevated temperature landfills (ETLFs). These temperatures are well above normal landfill operations, which typically range between 40 and 65 °C.  ETLFs are a relatively new phenomenon and have unique characteristics and challenges including substantial changes in the composition and quantity of landfill gas and leachate, rapid waste subsidence, and in some cases, elevated liquid and gas pressures. These conditions, alone or in combination, may affect the waste containment system - engineered barriers (liners and covers), gas and leachate collection infrastructure, and the physical stability of the waste mass.   Research has been performed to help quantify the contributing factors that may lead to the formation of ETLFs. In this presentation, a numerical model will be discussed that was used to predict heat generation, transport and accumulation from biological and chemical reactions that occur in MSW landfills.  The model offers key insights into the heat propagation and accumulation in different parts of the landfill geometry and provides some potential strategies to mitigate these elevated temperatures.


Dr. Joel Ducoste is a Professor in the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Advancement.  He holds a B.S. (1988) and M.Eng. (1989) in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering (1996) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Dr. Ducoste is a board certified environmental engineering member with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists and is a recognized expert in modeling water and wastewater treatment processes using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  His current research interests include physico-chemical processes in water treatment, computational fluid dynamics modeling, water/wastewater process optimization, wastewater sewer collection system sustainability, renewable energy, plant biosystems engineering, and solid waste process modeling. He is a respected researcher and productive scholar with over 85 peer reviewed journal publications and another 95 peer reviewed conference proceedings and research reports. Dr. Ducoste has received a number of awards including: an NSF Career Award, a Fulbright fellowship, Visiting Professorships at Ghent University, South East University, and Yangzhou University, NC State mentoring awards, elected Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and most recently, the WEF Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Medal. He has served on EPA Science Advisory Boards (2009-2018) and currently serves on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors Safe and Sustainable Water Resources committee. He is also the 2020-2021 President of the Association of the Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Dr. Ducoste also spent over 5 years in industry at CH2M Hill as a senior process engineer and as an advance-manufacturing engineer at GE Aircraft Engines.

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