A Novel Computational Approach for the Management of Bioreactor Landfills

Title: A Novel Computational Approach for the Management of Bioreactor Landfills
Authors: Abdallah, Mohamed E. S. M.
Date: 2011
Abstract: The bioreactor landfill is an emerging concept for solid waste management that has gained significant attention in the last decade. This technology employs specific operational practices to enhance the microbial decomposition processes in landfills. However, the unsupervised management and lack of operational guidelines for the bioreactor landfill, specifically leachate manipulation and recirculation processes, usually results in less than optimal system performance. Therefore, these limitations have led to the development of SMART (Sensor-based Monitoring and Remote-control Technology), an expert control system that utilizes real-time monitoring of key system parameters in the management of bioreactor landfills. SMART replaces conventional open-loop control with a feedback control system that aids the human operator in making decisions and managing complex control issues. The target from this control system is to provide optimum conditions for the biodegradation of the refuse, and also, to enhance the performance of the bioreactor in terms of biogas generation. SMART includes multiple cascading logic controllers and mathematical calculations through which the quantity and quality of the recirculated solution are determined. The expert system computes the required quantities of leachate, buffer, supplemental water, and nutritional amendments in order to provide the bioreactor landfill microbial consortia with their optimum growth requirements. Soft computational methods, particularly fuzzy logic, were incorporated in the logic controllers of SMART so as to accommodate the uncertainty, complexity, and nonlinearity of the bioreactor landfill processes. Fuzzy logic was used to solve complex operational issues in the control program of SMART including: (1) identify the current operational phase of the bioreactor landfill based on quantifiable parameters of the leachate generated and biogas produced, (2) evaluate the toxicological status of the leachate based on certain parameters that directly contribute to or indirectly indicates bacterial inhibition, and (3) predict biogas generation rates based on the operational phase, leachate recirculation, and sludge addition. The later fuzzy logic model was upgraded to a hybrid model that employed the learning algorithm of artificial neural networks to optimize the model parameters. SMART was applied to a pilot-scale bioreactor landfill prototype that incorporated the hardware components (sensors, communication devices, and control elements) and the software components (user interface and control program) of the system. During a one-year monitoring period, the feasibility and effectiveness of the SMART system were evaluated in terms of multiple leachate, biogas, and waste parameters. In addition, leachate heating was evaluated as a potential temperature control tool in bioreactor landfills. The pilot-scale implementation of SMART demonstrated the applicability of the system. SMART led to a significant improvement in the overall performance of the BL in terms of methane production and leachate stabilization. Temperature control via recirculation of heated leachate achieved high degradation rates of organic matter and improved the methanogenic activity.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20314
CollectionThèses, 2009 - // Theses, 2009 -