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“Optimization of waste stabilization in landfills in northern climates“

By: Paul Van Geel, Professor in Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University


Landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) is an effective waste-to-energy technology. Promoting waste stabilization increases the rate of landfill gas production for power generation and enhances waste settlement, which maximizes air space utilization and minimizes the landfill footprint. There is a need to better understand and optimize the waste stabilization processes occurring in the field in northern climates in order to maximize the benefits of LFGTE projects. To better understand the waste biodegradation process, twelve instrument bundles containing sensors to measure important stabilization parameters such as: temperature, settlement, total load, percent oxygen, moisture content, electrical conductivity and mounding of leachate were installed in a field site at a LFGTE facility in Ste. Sophie, Quebec. Five years of data have been collected to date. An overview of the data collected will be presented. In addition, conceptual and numerical models were developed to illustrate the impacts of aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation on the heat/energy budget at the site.


Dr. Paul Van Geel is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His expertise is primarily focused on the transport and fate of contaminants in the subsurface and issues related to waste management. He developed and taught a landfill design course and has supervised several students on waste management related topics including; the use of seismic techniques to map the moisture distribution in landfills, impacts of saline water on degradation kinetics in bioreactor landfills; life cycle analysis approach to evaluating different waste management strategies and his current research related to understanding and optimizing waste stabilization in bioreactor landfills operated in northern climates. Dr. Van Geel received his B.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

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