Invited Session: Waste Management Challenges

Modeling Heat Generation at Landfills Experiencing Elevated Temperatures

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
9:00 – 9:30
Convention Center

A number of landfills in North America are experiencing elevated temperatures, and the underlying cause is not clear. Some of these elevated temperature landfills (ETLFs) have received industrial wastes that are known to release heat, but others have not. Elevated temperatures in landfills present many challenges including rapid settlement, elevated leachate strength, objectionable odors and changes in gas production and composition. In addition, elevated temperatures may damage gas and leachate collection systems. Research was conducted to develop a mathematical model to predict temperatures within landfills. The model accounts for all significant heat sources and sinks in landfills. Heat sources include energy from aerobic and anaerobic biological reactions, metal corrosion, acid-base reactions, hydration reactions, subsurface oxidation and pyrolytic reactions. In addition, the model accounts for energy that leaves the landfill in the leachate and gas, as well as evaporation and condensation. The governing equations for each of the heat sources and sinks will be presented, along with model simulations to illustrate model behavior and model response to changes in the composition of the buried waste.

By attending this presentation, participants will understand the different factors that contribute to heat generation and release from landfills. In addition, participants will appreciate appropriate actions to manage landfills with elevated temperatures.


Dr. Morton Barlaz, Distinguished University Professor, North Carolina State University, North Carolina

Morton Barlaz

Dr. Morton A. Barlaz is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He has been involved in research on various aspects of solid waste since 1983. Over this time, he has conducted research on refuse decomposition, methane production, and the degradation of hazardous wastes in landfills. Dr. Barlaz also conducts research on the use of life-cycle analysis to evaluate environmental emissions associated with alternate solid waste management strategies. Dr. Barlaz is the author of over 60 peer-reviewed publications and has made over 100 presentations at conferences throughout the world. He is an Associate Editor for two journals (Waste Management and Journal of Environmental Engineering) and co-chair of the Intercontinental Landfill Research Symposium. In 1992 he was awarded a Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.