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Lori Clark

SUNY Stony Brook, Ph.D.
EREF Scholar 2015

A Novel Treatment to Hydrogen Sulfide Contaminated Landfill Gas

Project Description:
Capturing landfill gas for energy production is widely practiced across the United States, however, a large portion of landfill gas is flared off for various reasons. The primary gases produced at a landfill are carbon dioxide and methane with small amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and other gases. (H2S) is a toxic, corrosive, and odorous gas that can damage engines and at high enough levels must be treated. Landfills collecting construction and demolition (C&D) debris produce (H2S) levels (thousands of ppm) that can inhibit landfill gas to energy production and be costly to deal with. Presently, many landfills use a gravel-sized silica and metal oxide media to filter C&D landfill gas to remove sulfur. This uses adsorption to effectively draw (H2S) from the gas stream.

Project objectives:
With the help of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook University, Wehran Energy, and Brookhaven Landfill Lori is studying a novel approach to removing (H2S) from landfill gas. The objective is to improve the economics of sulfur removal and increase the potential of landfill gas recovery for energy production.

The team has been studying the effectiveness of the current sulfur treatment system at Brookhaven landfill from the C&D and ash cells using gas chromatography. They’ve simulated a new gas treatment system using small scale reactor vessels in the lab that employ lab created nano sized particles (in place of the larger conventional media) that act as a catalyst separating (H2S) and biochar. This technique has the potential to reduce the volume capacity required for housing the media used to filter landfill gas. The team is partnering with Brookhaven landfill and Wehran Energy to scale up the project with a pilot study on site. After completing a pilot study, they plan to do feasibility and cost study. This can assist landfills with meeting state and federal environmental regulations at a better cost. This can also potentially boost energy production at landfills by generating a cleaner landfill gas and reduce the environmental impact associated with C&D waste.

Lori Clark is a native of Long Island and Southern California. She has a bachelor’s degree in Resource Conservation (Brigham Young University), a master’s degree in Marine Environmental Science (Stony Brook University) where she worked in a trace metal clean laboratory, and is currently a PhD candidate in Technology, Policy, and Innovation at Stony Brook University with a focus on energy and the environment. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she volunteered in South Africa and later began working on wilderness assessment in Utah and advocacy in Washington DC. Following her master’s degree she did research on striped bass migration and contributed as a co-author on the state of NY/NJ harbor estuary reports for the Hudson River Foundation, NYC for three years. She later moved to California where she began a teaching career in earth and ocean sciences and became an associate professor of environmental science and technology at Moorpark College (8 years). While there, Lori developed curriculum and programs related to general environmental science, energy conservation, and solar technologies. Through her studies and work she came to be very interested in the development of local energy from municipal waste. She was able to find a program at Stony Brook University where she could pursue research in this area.