Publications by authors named "Marion Huber-Humer"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Static modelling of the material flows of micro- and nanoplastic particles caused by the use of vehicle tyres.

Environ Pollut 2021 Sep 3;290:118102. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Institute of Waste Management, Muthgasse 107, 1190, Vienna, Austria.

The emissions of tyre wear particles (TWPs) into the environment are increasing and have negative impacts on the environment and human health. The aim of this study was therefore to establish a mass balance for vehicle tyres und TWP emissions in Austria using static material flow analysis, which enabled a quantification of mass flows of rubber including carbon black as the most mass-relevant tyre filler. Vehicle-specific and mileage-dependent emission factors were used to calculate the TWP emissions. The results for the year 2018 indicate that 80% of the tyre rubber remained in use, while 14% was re-treaded, recycled, incinerated or exported as end-of-life tyres and 6% was emitted as TWPs to air, soil or surface water. Of these 21,200 t/y released and dissipative lost TWPs, 6% were microscale, with a possible size between 0.1 and 10 μm, and 0.3% were nanoscale below 0.1 μm. The mass balance on the substance level shows that the TWPs contained 5,500 t/y of carbon black emitted in the form of airborne TWPs (6%) or entering in the soil or surface waters (47% each). Regarding air pollution from road vehicles, about 3,600 t/y were non-exhaust emissions, including tyre, brake and road-surface wear, which contributed to 9% of total dust emissions across Austria. Scenario analysis for 2050 with regard to e-mobility and the European Green Deal reveals that non-exhaust emissions can only be significantly reduced by a general reduction of the mileage or an environmentally friendly tyre design. This modelling approach provides a solid basis for decision makers in traffic planning as well as for chemical risk assessment. However, dynamic models with higher temporal and spatial resolution are needed to predict future mass flows of TWPs and their environmental fate, including their degradation products and possible accumulation effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118102DOI Listing
September 2021

Mobility and fate of ligand stabilized semiconductor nanoparticles in landfill leachates.

J Hazard Mater 2020 Jul 5;394:122477. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Nanobiotechnology, Institute for Synthetic Bioarchitectures, Muthgasse 11, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are nanocrystals used in diverse optoelectronics. At the end of their useful life they are likely to end up in landfills, where they could be mobilzed by infiltrating rain water. In this work, spectroscopic and light scattering techniques were employed to investigate the environmental fate of QDs exposed to leachates from Austrian landfill sites containing municipal solid and bulky wastes. Brij-58-coated CdSe QDs, a model for surfactant stabilized hydrophobic nanoparticles, primarily sedimented before being degraded on a slower timescale in the course of 6 months. In contrast, N-acetyl-l-cystein-coated CdTe QDs, which represent electrostatically stabilized nanoparticles with a small covalently linked stabilizing molecule, mainly underwent a degradation mechanism that was accelerated by temperature. 71-95 % of this QD type was still dispersed in all leachates after 6 months at low temperature. Leachate temperature and composition, such as the DOC, as well as the used particle coating determined the mechanistic route of clearance of sedimentation versus degradation. Our study shows, that mechanistic investigations are necessary to determine the persistence of nanoparticles depending on their coatings in waste matrices which can be further used to assess hazardous risks of such nanowastes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.122477DOI Listing
July 2020

A review of the fate of engineered nanomaterials in municipal solid waste streams.

Waste Manag 2018 May 21;75:427-449. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

Significant knowledge and data gaps associated with the fate of product-embedded engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in waste management processes exist that limit our current ability to develop appropriate end-of-life management strategies. This review paper was developed as part of the activities of the IWWG ENMs in Waste Task Group. The specific objectives of this review paper are to assess the current knowledge associated with the fate of ENMs in commonly used waste management processes, including key processes and mechanisms associated with ENM fate and transport in each waste management process, and to use that information to identify the data gaps and research needs in this area. Literature associated with the fate of ENMs in wastes was reviewed and summarized. Overall, results from this literature review indicate a need for continued research in this area. No work has been conducted to quantify ENMs present in discarded materials and an understanding of ENM release from consumer products under conditions representative of those found in relevant waste management process is needed. Results also indicate that significant knowledge gaps associated with ENM behaviour exist for each waste management process investigated. There is a need for additional research investigating the fate of different types of ENMs at larger concentration ranges with different surface chemistries. Understanding how changes in treatment process operation may influence ENM fate is also needed. A series of specific research questions associated with the fate of ENMs during the management of ENM-containing wastes have been identified and used to direct future research in this area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2018.02.012DOI Listing
May 2018

Modeling the fate and end-of-life phase of engineered nanomaterials in the Japanese construction sector.

Waste Manag 2018 Feb 1;72:389-398. Epub 2017 Dec 1.

Department of Water - Atmosphere - Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, A-1190 Vienna, Austria.

To date construction materials that contain engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are available at the markets, but at the same time very little is known about their environmental fate. Therefore, this study aimed at modeling the potential fate of ENMs by using the example of the Japanese construction sector and by conducting a dynamic material flow analysis. Expert interviews and national reports revealed that about 3920-4660 tons of ENMs are annually used for construction materials in Japan. Nanoscale TiO, SiO, AlO and carbon black have already been applied for decades to wall paints, road markings or concrete. The dynamic material flow model indicates that in 2016 about 95% of ENMs, which have been used since their year of market penetration, remained in buildings, whereas only 5% ended up in the Japanese waste management system or were diffusely released into the environment. Considering the current Japanese waste management system, ENMs were predicted to end up in recycled materials (40-47%) or in landfills (36-41%). It was estimated that only a small proportion was used in agriculture (5-7%, as ENM-containing sewage sludges) or was diffusely released into soils, surface waters or the atmosphere (5-19%). The results indicate that ENM release predominantly depend on their specific applications and characteristics. The model also highlights the importance of adequate collection and treatment of ENM-containing wastes. In future, similar dynamic flow models for other countries should consider, inasmuch as available, historical data on ENM production (e.g. like declaration reports that are annually published by relevant public authorities or associations), as such input data is very important regarding data reliability in order to decrease uncertainties and to continuously improve model accuracy. In addition, more environmental monitoring studies that aim at the quantification of ENM release and inadvertent transfer, particularly triggered by waste treatment processes, would be needed in order to validate such models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2017.11.037DOI Listing
February 2018

Corrigendum to "Supplementary material - Traceability of fluorescent engineered nanomaterials and their fate in complex liquid waste matrices" [Environ. Pollut. 214 (July 2016), 795-805].

Environ Pollut 2017 06 14;225:744. Epub 2017 Mar 14.

Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.03.003DOI Listing
June 2017

Performance and completion assessment of an in-situ aerated municipal solid waste landfill - Final scientific documentation of an Austrian case study.

Waste Manag 2017 May 23;63:397-409. Epub 2016 Aug 23.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

By converting anaerobic landfills into a biologically stabilized state through accelerating aerobic organic matter degradation, the effort and duration necessary for post-closure procedures can be shortened. In Austria, the first full-scale application of in-situ landfill aeration by means of low pressure air injection with simultaneous off-gas collection and treatment was implemented on an old MSW-landfill and operated between 2007 and 2013. Besides complementary laboratory investigations, which included waste sampling from the landfill site prior to aeration start, a comprehensive field monitoring program was conducted to assess the influence of the aeration measure on the emission behavior of the landfilled waste during the aeration period as well as after aeration completion. Although the initial waste material was described as rather stable, the lab-scale aeration tests indicated a significant improvement of the leachate quality and even the biological solid waste stability. However, the aeration success was less pronounced for the application at the landfill site, mainly due to technical limitations in the full-scale operation. In this paper main performance data of the field investigation are compared to four other scientifically documented case studies along with stability indicators for solid waste and leachate characteristics in order to evaluate the success of aeration as well as the progress of a landfill towards completion and end of post-closure care. A number of quantitative benchmarks and relevant context information for the performance assessment of the five hitherto conducted international aeration projects are proposed aiming to support the systematization and harmonization of available results from diverse field studies and full-scale applications in future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2016.07.043DOI Listing
May 2017

Traceability of fluorescent engineered nanomaterials and their fate in complex liquid waste matrices.

Environ Pollut 2016 Jul 4;214:795-805. Epub 2016 May 4.

Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

The number of products containing engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) has increased due to their high industrial relevance as well as their use in diverse consumer products. At the end of their life cycle ENMs might be released to the environment and therefore concerns arise regarding their environmental impact. In order to track their fate upon disposal, it is crucial to establish methods to trace ENMs in complex environmental samples and to differentiate them from naturally-occurring nanoparticles. The goal of this study was to distinctively trace ENMs by (non-invasive) detection methods. For this, fluorescent ENMs, namely quantum dots (QDs), were distinctively traced in complex aqueous matrices, and were still detectable after a period of two months using fluorescence spectroscopy. In particular, two water-dispersible QD-species, namely CdTe/CdS QDs with N-acetyl-l-cysteine as capping agent (NAC-QDs) and surfactant-stabilized CdSe/ZnS QDs (Brij(®)58-QDs), were synthesized to examine their environmental fate during disposal as well as their potential interaction with naturally-occurring substances present in landfill leachates. When QDs were spiked into a leachate from an old landfill site, alteration processes, such as sorption, aggregation, agglomeration, and interactions with dissolved organic carbon (DOC), led to modifications of the optical properties of QDs. The spectral signatures of NAC-QDs deteriorated depending on residence time and storage temperature, while Brij(®)58-QDs retained their photoluminescence fingerprints, indicating their high colloidal stability. The observed change in photoluminescence intensity was mainly caused by DOC-interaction and association with complexing agents, such as fulvic or humic acids, typically present in mature landfill leachates. For both QD-species, the results also indicated that pH of the leachate had no significant impact on their optical properties. As a result, the unique spectroscopic fingerprints of QDs, specifically surfactant-stabilized QDs, allowed distinctive tracing in complex aqueous waste matrices in order to study their long-term behavior and ultimate fate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.04.032DOI Listing
July 2016

Determination of leachate compounds relevant for landfill aftercare using FT-IR spectroscopy.

Waste Manag 2016 Sep 4;55:321-9. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

Controlling and monitoring of emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills is important to reduce environmental damage and health risks. Therefore, simple and meaningful monitoring tools are required. This paper presents how Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy can be used to monitor leachate from various landfill sites. The composition of percolated leachate provides information about reactivity or stability of organic matter in landfills. Chemical compounds of investigated leachate are depicted by distinct spectral pattern. Partial least squares regression (PLS-R) models, a multivariate analysis tool, were developed based on infrared spectra to determine simultaneously conventional parameters such as ammonium, nitrate, sulfate, and dissolved organic carbon. The developed models are appropriate for application in waste management practice with respect to their excellent coefficients of determination, namely R(2)=0.99, 0.99, 0.98, and 0.98, their low errors of cross-validation and their high ratios of performance to deviation (RPD=9.3, 12.5, 6.5, 7.3). Thus, FT-IR spectroscopy turned out to be a reliable, time-saving tool to determine four parameters relevant for landfill aftercare monitoring by one single easy adaptable measurement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2016.02.034DOI Listing
September 2016

Current limitations and challenges in nanowaste detection, characterisation and monitoring.

Waste Manag 2015 Sep 24;43:407-20. Epub 2015 Jun 24.

Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Institute of Waste Management, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are already extensively used in diverse consumer products. Along the life cycle of a nano-enabled product, ENMs can be released and subsequently accumulate in the environment. Material flow models also indicate that a variety of ENMs may accumulate in waste streams. Therefore, a new type of waste, so-called nanowaste, is generated when end-of-life ENMs and nano-enabled products are disposed of. In terms of the precautionary principle, environmental monitoring of end-of-life ENMs is crucial to allow assessment of the potential impact of nanowaste on our ecosystem. Trace analysis and quantification of nanoparticulate species is very challenging because of the variety of ENM types that are used in products and low concentrations of nanowaste expected in complex environmental media. In the framework of this paper, challenges in nanowaste characterisation and appropriate analytical techniques which can be applied to nanowaste analysis are summarised. Recent case studies focussing on the characterisation of ENMs in waste streams are discussed. Most studies aim to investigate the fate of nanowaste during incineration, particularly considering aerosol measurements; whereas, detailed studies focusing on the potential release of nanowaste during waste recycling processes are currently not available. In terms of suitable analytical methods, separation techniques coupled to spectrometry-based methods are promising tools to detect nanowaste and determine particle size distribution in liquid waste samples. Standardised leaching protocols can be applied to generate soluble fractions stemming from solid wastes, while micro- and ultrafiltration can be used to enrich nanoparticulate species. Imaging techniques combined with X-ray-based methods are powerful tools for determining particle size, morphology and screening elemental composition. However, quantification of nanowaste is currently hampered due to the problem to differentiate engineered from naturally-occurring nanoparticles. A promising approach to face these challenges in nanowaste characterisation might be the application of nanotracers with unique optical properties, elemental or isotopic fingerprints. At present, there is also a need to develop and standardise analytical protocols regarding nanowaste sampling, separation and quantification. In general, more experimental studies are needed to examine the fate and transport of ENMs in waste streams and to deduce transfer coefficients, respectively to develop reliable material flow models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2015.05.035DOI Listing
September 2015

Determining methane emissions from biogas plants--Operational and meteorological aspects.

Bioresour Technol 2015 Sep 14;191:234-43. Epub 2015 May 14.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

A micrometeorological method, combining an inverse dispersion technique with path-integrated concentration measurements, was applied on an Austrian biogas plant over the period of more than one year to determine emissions of the whole plant. Measurement campaigns were conducted to characterize the emission response to operational activities (e.g. digestate management) and meteorological changes. When digestate storage tanks were filled, an average emission rate of 7.2 kg CH4/h (approx. 4% of the calculated CH4 production) was determined, while 5.4 kg CH4/h of emissions (approx. 3% of the calculated CH4 production) were quantified after the tanks had been emptied. It could be observed that besides the operation mode (e.g. filling level or agitation of the openly stored digestate, maintenance), the meteorological conditions such as wind speed and solar radiation (e.g. heat flux) can also affect the emission rate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2015.05.016DOI Listing
September 2015

Quantification of methane emissions from full-scale open windrow composting of biowaste using an inverse dispersion technique.

Waste Manag 2014 Dec 18;34(12):2445-53. Epub 2014 Sep 18.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

An inverse dispersion technique in conjunction with Open-Path Tunable-Diode-Laser-Spectroscopy (OP-TDLS) and meteorological measurements was applied to characterise methane (CH4) emissions from an Austrian open-windrow composting plant treating source-separated biowaste. Within the measurement campaigns from July to September 2012 different operating conditions (e.g. before, during and after turning and/or sieving events) were considered to reflect the plant-specific process efficiency. In addition, the tracer technique using acetylene (C2H2) was applied during the measurement campaigns as a comparison to the dispersion model. Plant-specific methane emissions varied between 1.7 and 14.3 gCH4/m(3)d (1.3-10.7 kg CH4/h) under real-life management assuming a rotting volume of 18,000 m(3). In addition, emission measurements indicated that the turning frequency of the open windrows appears to be a crucial factor controlling CH4 emissions when composting biowaste. The lowest CH4 emission was measured at a passive state of the windrows without any turning event ("standstill" and "sieving of matured compost"). Not surprisingly, higher CH4 emissions occurred during turning events, which can be mainly attributed to the instant release of trapped CH4. Besides the operation mode, the meteorological conditions (e.g. wind speed, atmospheric stability) may be further factors that likely affect the release of CH4 emissions at an open windrow system. However, the maximum daily CH4 emissions of 1m(3) rotting material of the composting plant are only 0.7-6.5% of the potential daily methane emissions released from 1m(3) of mechanically-biologically treated (MBT) waste being landfilled according to the required limit values given in the Austrian landfill ordinance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2014.08.013DOI Listing
December 2014

Multisource emission retrieval within a biogas plant based on inverse dispersion calculations--a real-life example.

Environ Monit Assess 2014 Oct 29;186(10):6251-62. Epub 2014 May 29.

Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190, Vienna, Austria,

Open digestate storage tanks were identified as one of the main methane (CH4) emitters of a biogas plant. The main purpose of this paper is to determine these emission rates using an inverse dispersion technique in conjunction with open-path tunable diode laser spectroscopy (OP-TDLS) concentration measurements for multisource reconstruction. Since the condition number, a measure of "ill-conditioned" matrices, strongly influences the accuracy of source reconstruction, it is used as a diagnostic of error sensitivity. The investigations demonstrate that the condition number for a given source-sensor configuration in the highly disturbed flow field within the plant significantly depends on the meteorological conditions (e.g., wind speed, stratification, wind direction, etc.). The CH₄ emissions are retrieved by removing unrepresentative periods with high condition numbers, which indicate uncertainty in recovering the individual sources. In a final step, the CH₄ emissions are compared with the maximum biological methane potential (BMP) in the digestate analyzed under laboratory conditions. The retrieved methane emission rates represent an average of 50% of the maximum BMP of the stored digestate in the winter months, while they comprised an average of 85% during the measurement campaigns in the summer months. The results indicate that the open tanks have the potential to represent a substantial emission source even during colder periods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-014-3852-0DOI Listing
October 2014

Stable isotope signatures for characterising the biological stability of landfilled municipal solid waste.

Waste Manag 2013 Oct 27;33(10):2083-90. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Health and Environment Department, Environmental Resources and Technologies, Konrad-Lorenz-Strasse 24, 3430 Tulln, Austria. Electronic address:

Stable isotopic signatures of landfill leachates are influenced by processes within municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills mainly depending on the aerobic/anaerobic phase of the landfill. We investigated the isotopic signatures of δ(13)C, δ(2)H and δ(18)O of different leachates from lab-scale experiments, lysimeter experiments and a landfill under in situ aeration. In the laboratory, columns filled with MSW of different age and reactivity were percolated under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. In landfill simulation reactors, waste of a 25year old landfill was kept under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The lysimeter facility was filled with mechanically shredded fresh waste. After starting of the methane production the waste in the lysimeter containments was aerated in situ. Leachate and gas composition were monitored continuously. In addition the seepage water of an old landfill was collected and analysed periodically before and during an in situ aeration. We found significant differences in the δ(13)C-value of the dissolved inorganic carbon (δ(13)C-DIC) of the leachate between aerobic and anaerobic waste material. During aerobic degradation, the signature of δ(13)C-DIC was mainly dependent on the isotopic composition of the organic matter in the waste, resulting in a δ(13)C-DIC of -20‰ to -25‰. The production of methane under anaerobic conditions caused an increase in δ(13)C-DIC up to values of +10‰ and higher depending on the actual reactivity of the MSW. During aeration of a landfill the aerobic degradation of the remaining organic matter caused a decrease to a δ(13)C-DIC of about -20‰. Therefore carbon isotope analysis in leachates and groundwater can be used for tracing the oxidation-reduction status of MSW landfills. Our results indicate that monitoring of stable isotopic signatures of landfill leachates over a longer time period (e.g. during in situ aeration) is a powerful and cost-effective tool for characterising the biodegradability and stability of the organic matter in landfilled municipal solid waste and can be used for monitoring the progress of in situ aeration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2013.02.017DOI Listing
October 2013

Comparison between lab- and full-scale applications of in situ aeration of an old landfill and assessment of long-term emission development after completion.

Waste Manag 2013 Oct 19;33(10):2061-73. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

Sustainable landfilling has become a fundamental objective in many modern waste management concepts. In this context, the in situ aeration of landfills has been recognised for its potential to convert conventional anaerobic landfills into biological stabilised state, whereby both current and potential (long-term) emissions of the landfilled waste are mitigated. In recent years, different in situ aeration concepts have been successfully applied in Europe, North America and Asia, all pursuing different objectives and strategies. In Austria, the first full-scale application of in situ landfill aeration by means of low pressure air injection and simultaneous off-gas collection and treatment was implemented on an old, small municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill (2.6ha) in autumn 2007. Complementary laboratory investigations were conducted with waste samples taken from the landfill site in order to provide more information on the transferability of the results from lab- to full-scale aeration measures. In addition, long-term emission development of the stabilised waste after aeration completion was assessed in an ongoing laboratory experiment. Although the initial waste material was described as mostly stable in terms of the biological parameters gas generation potential over 21days (GP21) and respiration activity over 4days (RA4), the lab-scale experiments indicated that aeration, which led to a significant improvement of leachate quality, was accompanied by further measurable changes in the solid waste material under optimised conditions. Even 75weeks after aeration completion the leachate, as well as gaseous emissions from the stabilised waste material, remained low and stayed below the authorised Austrian discharge limits. However, the application of in situ aeration at the investigated landfill is a factor 10 behind the lab-based predictions after 3years of operation, mainly due to technical limitations in the full-scale operation (e.g. high air flow resistivity due to high water content of waste and temporarily high water levels within the landfill; limited efficiency of the aeration wells). In addition, material preparation (e.g. sieving, sorting and homogenisation) prior to the emplacement in Landfill Simulation Reactors (LSRs) must be considered when transferring results from lab- to full-scale application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2013.01.027DOI Listing
October 2013

Design of top covers supporting aerobic in situ stabilization of old landfills--an experimental simulation in lysimeters.

Waste Manag 2012 Dec 30;32(12):2324-35. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Institute of Waste Management, Department of Water-Atmosphere-Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

Landfill aeration by means of low pressure air injection is a promising tool to reduce long term emissions from organic waste fractions through accelerated biological stabilization. Top covers that enhance methane oxidation could provide a simple and economic way to mitigate residual greenhouse gas emissions from in situ aerated landfills, and may replace off-gas extraction and treatment, particularly at smaller and older sites. In this respect the installation of a landfill cover system adjusted to the forced-aerated landfill body is of great significance. Investigations into large scale lysimeters (2 × 2 × 3m) under field conditions have been carried out using different top covers including compost materials and natural soils as a surrogate to gas extraction during active low pressure aeration. In the present study, the emission behaviour as well as the water balance performance of the lysimeters has been investigated, both prior to and during the first months of in situ aeration. Results reveal that mature sewage sludge compost (SSC) placed in one lysimeter exhibits in principle optimal ambient conditions for methanotrophic bacteria to enhance methane oxidation. Under laboratory conditions the mature compost mitigated CH(4) loadings up to 300 lCH(4)/m(2)d. In addition, the compost material provided high air permeability even at 100% water holding capacity (WHC). In contrast, the more cohesive, mineral soil cover was expected to cause a notably uniform distribution of the injected air within the waste layer. Laboratory results also revealed sufficient air permeability of the soil materials (TS-F and SS-Z) placed in lysimeter C. However, at higher compaction density SS-Z became impermeable at 100% WHC. Methane emissions from the reference lysimeter with the smaller substrate cover (12-52 g CH(4)/m(2)d) were significantly higher than fluxes from the other lysimeters (0-19 g CH(4)/m(2)d) during in situ aeration. Regarding water balance, lysimeters covered with compost and compost-sand mixture, showed the lowest leachate rate (18-26% of the precipitation) due to the high water holding capacity and more favourable plant growth conditions compared to the lysimeters with mineral, more cohesive, soil covers (27-45% of the precipitation). On the basis of these results, the authors suggest a layered top cover system using both compost material as well as mineral soil in order to support active low-pressure aeration. Conventional soil materials with lower permeability may be used on top of the landfill body for a more uniform aeration of the waste due to an increased resistance to vertical gas flow. A compost cover may be built on top of the soil cover underlain by a gas distribution layer to improve methane oxidation rates and minimise water infiltration. By planting vegetation with a high transpiration rate, the leachate amount emanating from the landfill could be further minimised. The suggested design may be particularly suitable in combination with intermittent in situ aeration, in the later stage of an aeration measure, or at very small sites and shallow deposits. The top cover system could further regulate water infiltration into the landfill and mitigate residual CH(4) emissions, even beyond the time of active aeration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2012.06.004DOI Listing
December 2012

Scrutinizing compost properties and their impact on methane oxidation efficiency.

Waste Manag 2011 May 29;31(5):871-83. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Institute of Waste Management, Muthgasse 107/3rd Floor, A-1190 Vienna, Austria.

Methane emissions from active or closed landfills can be reduced by means of microbial methane oxidation enhanced by properly designed landfill covers and engineered biocovers. Composts produced using different waste materials have already been proven to support methane oxidation, and may represent a low-cost alternative to other suitable substrates such as sandy or humic-rich soils, which are frequently not available in sufficient amounts or are too costly. In the present study a data set of 30 different compost materials (different age and input materials) and mixtures, as well as seven soils and mineral substrates were tested to assess methane oxidation rate under similar conditions in a laboratory column set-up. Multivariate data analysis (discriminant analysis) was applied to predict the influence of 21 different parameters (chemical, maturation and physical) on methane oxidation rate in a PLS-DA model. The results show that bulk density, total nutrient content (nitrogen and phosphorus), as well as the quantity and quality (with respect to maturity) of organic matter determined methane oxidation rate in this data set. The model explained 50% of the data variation, indicating how characterisation of oxidation rate by single, even diverse conventional parameters was limited. Thus for the first time, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was applied to a series of samples to better determine the characteristics of methane-oxidising materials. The initial data obtained in this study appear to be most promising. The prediction of specific methane oxidation rate of a potential biocover material from FTIR spectra and multivariate data analyses is a target to be focused on in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2010.09.023DOI Listing
May 2011

Characterisation of microbial communities in relation to physical-chemical parameters during in situ aeration of waste material.

Waste Manag 2010 Nov 18;30(11):2177-84. Epub 2010 May 18.

Institute of Soil Research, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Peter-Jordan Strasse 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria.

This study investigates changes in waste microbial community composition and biomass during in situ aeration in laboratory-scale columns over 32 weeks. Microbial profiles were assessed in solid and leachate samples in relation to physical-chemical parameters using phospholipid ester linked fatty acid (PLFA) and phospholipid ether lipid (PLEL) analysis and parameters such as pH, EC, TC, TOC, TN, NO(3)(-), NH(4)(+), COD and the biochemical parameter BOD(5). Principal component analysis (PCA) of the individual PLFAs and PLELs indicated a change in community composition and biomass over the operation period, which could be differentiated in the three phases (i) anaerobic, (ii) aeration start and (iii) extended aeration. PCA revealed that aeration and pH values were the most influential parameters on microbial dynamics. There was a marked decrease of ubiquitous microorganisms, some Gram negative bacterial groups and methanogenic archaea, but a consecutive increase of Gram positive microbial groups along with a rapid reduction of organics after aeration start. Those in situ aeration effects on microbial community composition and C conversion were stable throughout the laboratory set-up of 32 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2010.04.023DOI Listing
November 2010

Microbial methane oxidation processes and technologies for mitigation of landfill gas emissions.

Waste Manag Res 2009 Aug 7;27(5):409-55. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.

Landfill gas containing methane is produced by anaerobic degradation of organic waste. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas and landfills are one of the major anthropogenic sources of atmospheric methane. Landfill methane may be oxidized by methanotrophic microorganisms in soils or waste materials utilizing oxygen that diffuses into the cover layer from the atmosphere. The methane oxidation process, which is governed by several environmental factors, can be exploited in engineered systems developed for methane emission mitigation. Mathematical models that account for methane oxidation can be used to predict methane emissions from landfills. Additional research and technology development is needed before methane mitigation technologies utilizing microbial methane oxidation processes can become commercially viable and widely deployed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734242X09339325DOI Listing
August 2009

Biotic systems to mitigate landfill methane emissions.

Waste Manag Res 2008 Feb;26(1):33-46

BOKU-University Vienna, Institute of Waste Management, Vienna, Austria.

Landfill gases produced during biological degradation of buried organic wastes include methane, which when released to the atmosphere, can contribute to global climate change. Increasing use of gas collection systems has reduced the risk of escaping methane emissions entering the atmosphere, but gas capture is not 100% efficient, and further, there are still many instances when gas collection systems are not used. Biotic methane mitigation systems exploit the propensity of some naturally occurring bacteria to oxidize methane. By providing optimum conditions for microbial habitation and efficiently routing landfill gases to where they are cultivated, a number of bio-based systems, such as interim or long-term biocovers, passively or actively vented biofilters, biowindows and daily-used biotarps, have been developed that can alone, or with gas collection, mitigate landfill methane emissions. This paper reviews the science that guides bio-based designs; summarizes experiences with the diverse natural or engineered substrates used in such systems; describes some of the studies and field trials being used to evaluate them; and discusses how they can be used for better landfill operation, capping, and aftercare.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734242X07087977DOI Listing
February 2008

International research into landfill gas emissions and mitigation strategies--IWWG working group "CLEAR".

Waste Manag 2004 ;24(4):425-7

Department of Waste Management, BOKU-University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2004.02.005DOI Listing
August 2004
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