Numerical model of aerobic bioreactor landfill considering aerobic-anaerobic condition and bio-stable zone development

  • Shi-Jin Feng
  • An-Zheng Li
  • Qi-Teng Zheng
  • Ben-Yi Cao
  • Hong-Xin ChenEmail author
Research Article


Aeration by airflow technology is a reliable method to accelerate waste biodegradation and stabilization and hence shorten the aftercare period of a landfill. To simulate hydro-biochemical behaviors in this type of landfills, this study develops a model coupling multi-phase flow, multi-component transport and aerobic-anaerobic biodegradation using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method. The uniqueness of the model is that it can well describe the evolution of aerobic zone, anaerobic zone, and temperature during aeration and evaluate aeration efficiency considering aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation processes. After being verified using existing in situ and laboratory test results, the model is then employed to reveal the bio-stable zone development, aerobic biochemical reactions around vertical well (VW), and anaerobic reactions away from VW. With an increase in the initial organic matter content (0.1 to 0.4), the bio-stable zone expands at a decreasing speed but with all the horizontal ranges larger than 17 m after an intermittent aeration for 1000 days. When waste intrinsic permeability is equal or greater than 10−11 m2, aeration using a low pressure between 4 and 8 kPa is appropriate. The aeration efficiency would be underestimated if anaerobic biodegradation is neglected because products of anaerobic biodegradation would be oxidized more easily. A horizontal spacing of 17 m is suggested for aeration VWs with a vertical spacing of 10 m for screens. Since a lower aeration frequency can give greater aeration efficiency, a 20-day aeration/20-day leachate recirculation scenario is recommended considering the maximum temperature over a reasonable range. For wet landfills with low temperature, the proportion of aeration can be increased to 0.67 (20-day aeration/10-day leachate recirculation) or an even higher value.


Bioreactor landfill Aeration Leachate recirculation CFD Stabilization 



\( \overset{=}{\tau } \)shear stress tensor

Aanisotropy of MSW

Dimass diffusion coefficient for component i

DT,ithermal diffusion coefficient

fTinhibition factor of temperature

fθinhibition factor of moisture content

gacceleration of gravity

H0landfill height

Hsscreen length of VW

HwVW depth

hqspecific enthalpy of phase q

\( \overrightarrow{J_i} \)diffusion flux of component i

kiintrinsic permeability

kMonod saturation constant

kO2,isaturation constant of O2

kCH4saturation constant for CH4

krrelative permeability

Kreaction rate constant

mvgvan Genuchten constant

ntotal porosity of MSW

nvgvan Genuchten constant

pqliquid/gas pressure

pccapillary pressure

\( {P}_{{\mathrm{O}}_2} \)partial pressure of O2

PH2partial pressure of H2

PCH4partial pressure of CH4

qqheat flux

Qpqintensity of heat exchange between phases

\( {R}_{\bullet}^i \)reaction rate

Risource/sink term of component i in biochemical reactions

\( {R}_{\bullet}^{\mathrm{D}} \) decay rate of biomass

Siconcentration of substrate

Seeffective degree of saturation

Sqsource/sink term of phase q



Vqvolume occupied by phase q

\( \overrightarrow{v_q} \)velocity of phase q

Xconcentration of biomass

\( {X}_{\bullet}^{ini} \)initial concentration of biomass

Yimass fraction of component i in phase q

Yyield coefficient

αlrresidual volume fraction of leachate phase

αlsmaximum volume fraction of leachate phase

αqphasic volume fraction of phase q

αvgVGM parameter related to the gas entry pressure

μqdynamic viscosity of phase q

μspecific growth rate of biomass

\( {\mu}_{\bullet}^{\mathrm{max}} \)maximum specific growth rate

ηenvironmental inhibition factor

ρqdensity of phase q

Funding information

The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 41725012, 41572265, and 41661130153; the Shuguang Scheme under Grant No. 16SG19; and the Newton Advanced Fellowship of the Royal Society under Grant No. NA150466.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shi-Jin Feng
    • 1
  • An-Zheng Li
    • 1
  • Qi-Teng Zheng
    • 1
  • Ben-Yi Cao
    • 2
  • Hong-Xin Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Geotechnical and Underground Engineering of the Ministry of Education, Department of Geotechnical EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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