Techno-Economic Evaluation of Supercritical Water Oxidation for Landfill Leachate and Condensate Management

Investigator: Duke University

Start Date:
Oct 2020

Award Amount:

Landfill leachate and condensate management can be a major cost of operating a landfill and they are an important contingent liability. For example, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are now found in many landfills and cause great concerns to owners and operators. Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) is game-changing treatment technology that could provide superior treatment with better economics. The Deshusses’ lab is leading the US with its new SCWO technology. It is well positioned to evaluate this technology at a technology readiness level (TRL7) leveraging past and existing funding. The objectives of this project are to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of using SCWO at landfills in the US.

Supporting objectives to reach these goals are to:

  1. Demonstrate treatment of representative landfill leachates, condensates and concentrated liquids such as leachate reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate in our pilot 1 ton/day SCWO system with specific focus on PFAS and emerging contaminants.
  2. Conduct a detailed economic analysis of using SCWO at landfills at larger scale. This will include early assessment of scale and SCWO system throughout. If this assessment indicates that concentration of leachates and condensates (e.g., using reverse osmosis) followed by SCWO is the preferred route for treatment, the project will focus on treatment of concentrated liquids such as RO leachate concentrates.
  3. Explore treatment synergies (e.g., hazardous wastes, PFAS contaminated sludge, selected organic wastes TBD with EREF) that may be co-treated with leachate/condensate or RO concentrates and that may affect the economic outcome.