Optimizing landfill aeration strategy with a 3-D multiphase model

André G. van Turnhout, Hans Oonk, Heijo Scharff, Timo J. Heimovaara

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In order to reduce the environmental and financial burden for future generations, approaches are needed to shorten aftercare of landfills. Aeration of the waste-body is a promising approach, however, the poor understanding of transport of gas and water through a waste-body makes it difficult to design an effective aeration strategy. The aim of this study is to develop a tool to determine the optimal aeration strategy for landfills. This study presents a comparison of aeration strategies based on the air distribution they generate with a 3-D multiphase model. The implemented theory is based on parameter values obtained from (laboratory) experiments performed under conditions which are similar to those in a full scale landfill. Calibration with field scale gas extraction data from the Dutch pilot site Wieringermeer shows that the model gives a good description of the average gas flow under extraction. Scenario analyses for the case study landfill indicate that injection strategies reach a larger volume fraction of waste with a higher air flow compared with extraction strategies, especially at the bottom of the landfill. Extraction, however, supplies oxygen more homogeneously through-out the waste. An import design criterion is also the distance between the wells. Too large distances lead to ineffective treatment because too large volumes of waste/leachate remain untreated. In addition to the comparison of aeration strategies, an optimal aeration strategy for the pilot site is presented. A combination of (alternating) injection and extraction wells which are maximum 20m apart seems to be the optimal strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-509
Number of pages11
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 3-D multiphase model
  • Aeration
  • Design criteria
  • Field scale
  • Landfills
  • Waste treatment

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