Development of a Fast-Open Source Model to Assess Heat Generation from Alternative Landfill Disposal Strategies

Investigator: North Carolina State University

Award Amount: $143,919

In North America, elevated temperatures have been reported in a few municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. In previous work, we developed a batch reactor model and a 3D finite element model to predict waste temperatures as a function of waste composition and operating conditions. In ongoing research using the 3D model, predicted and field-observed temperatures are aligning well. However, the model is computationally intensive and cannot be used on typical laptops to explore site-specific strategies for the disposal of heat-generating wastes. The landfill industry is frequently faced with decisions on whether to accept a heat-generating waste, the quantity to accept and whether it is best to segregate the waste or allow co-disposal with MSW. In this research, we will provide the industry with a user-friendly tool to answer these questions in consideration of waste-specific, and landfill-specific information.

 The objectives of the proposed research are to:

1. Develop an open source compartmental landfill reactor heat model (CLRHeat) to describe spatially varying heat generation, transfer and accumulation that can run in minutes;

2. Validate CLRHeat using field and 3D finite element model data; &

3. Develop a graphical use interface (GUI) to incorporate the required data needed to describe a landfill and simplify use of the 3D predictive tool.

The model will be user-friendly open source tool that can rapidly (minutes) estimate the impact of the disposal of a specific quantity of heat-generating wastes on spatially distributed landfill temperatures. The tool will be useful to evaluate alternative landfill waste disposal quantities and strategies (e.g., block fill vs well mixed) to avoid unacceptable heat accumulation in consideration of different geometries.