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EREF Awards 2017 Master’s and Doctoral Scholarships

Seven students across North America received the awards.

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) announced the awarding of seven scholarships to Master’s and Doctoral students across North America pursuing education in solid waste management.

The recipients were as follows:

Sampurna Datta

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Ph.D.

EREF Scholar 2017

Project: Transformative Shift of Landfills from Containment Facility to Energy Harvesting

Worldwide practices in managing the growing amounts of municipal solid waste (MSW) that are generated every year (1.3 billion tons globally) are simply unsustainable and, as a result, landfills represent the second largest human-generated source of methane in the US. Datta’s research focuses on providing a means of extracting energy from municipal solid waste through the modeling of processes occurring within a landfill.

Sarah Gustitus

University of Virginia, Ph.D.

EREF Scholar 2017

Project: Determining the Service Life of Bentonite-Polymer Geosynthetic Clay Liners Permeated with Aggressive Leachates

The goal of Gustitus’ research is to develop new techniques to predict the service life of geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) produced with bentonite-polymer (B-P) composites. Her objective is to develop and implement an accelerated test protocol, which utilizes elevated temperature test conditions and an existing model to predict the service life of B-P GCLs used with different waste streams. Through this effort, guidance will be developed for industries that have a need for durable liners so that they may determine to what extent B-P GCLs may be effective for their applications.

Richard Hilliard

Oregon State University, Ph.D.

EREF Scholar 2017

Project: Applying the Simultaneous Anammox and Denitrification (SAD) to Landfill Leachate

Nitrogen loading in landfill leachate constitutes a primary long-term concern for municipal solid waste disposal, threatening pollution and an excess of nutrients in surface and ground waters, which causes algal blooms. Current methods employed in landfill leachate are costly, involving extremely large footprints (e.g. wetlands), expensive chemical additions (e.g. struvite precipitation commonly known as a fertilizer), high-energy requirements (e.g. aeration), or expensive leachate transportation costs for discharge to a local wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Hilliard’s goal for this research is to develop a SAD (simultaneous anammox and denitrification) system that provides a robust, compact, low cost, and easy to use system for nitrogen removal from leachate.

Ryan Joslyn

University of Central Florida, MS

Robert P. Stearns/SCS Engineers Master’s Scholar

Project: Field Investigation of an Elevated Temperature Florida Landfill

For reasons that are not entirely clear, incidents of elevated temperatures in municipal solid waste landfills are occurring at increasing frequency. These landfills present temperatures that well exceed the range tolerable for micro-organisms (~176°F). Given the significance of elevated temperatures at landfills and the growing number of landfills with these issues, the goal of Joslyn’s research is to develop a more complete understanding of elevated temperature landfills using landfill gas and leachate monitoring data, specifically in the state of Florida.

Daniel Moccia-Field

Yale University, MS

EREF Scholar 2017

Project: Closing Resource Loops in Institutional Food Waste

With low quality and high volume, the waste stream from institutional food production is both a challenge and an opportunity – materials from these establishments tend to pass directly out of the kitchen window and into the trashcan. With his research, Moccia-Field intends to change the perspective of food production professionals by introducing systems science and circular economy in order to discuss new strategies and operations. The goal of this research is to empower stakeholders throughout the industry to conserve resources by utilizing waste stream management.

Koichi Kanaoka

Duke University, MS

Robert J. Riethmiller/PTR Baler and Compactor Scholarship

Project: Opportunities, Challenges and Benefits of Increasing Waste Recovery Rates in U.S. Cities

With three billion people entering the middle class and the Earth’s population projected to grow to over nine billion by 2030, effectively managing our natural resources will become critical for maintaining and improving people’s quality of life. Kanaoka’s research focuses on the drivers and mechanisms of society’s transition towards a circular economy, and how waste recovery and industrial symbiosis could be leveraged as strategies for promoting regional economic development while minimizing environmental impact.

James Souder

Yale University, MS

Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability

Project: Closing the Loop and Increasing Material Recovery in Supply Chains and Production Systems

The current solid waste management and recycling systems rely heavily on consumer sorting behavior, even though consumers are confused by the difference between single- and multi-stream recycling, and which types of materials can be recycled in their municipalities. Souder’s research seeks to tackle this problem and build on momentum of using labels to inform recycling decisions and automatic waste sorting mechanisms.

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