Depsim: Numerical 3D-Simulation of the Water, Gas and Solid Phase in a Landfill

Depsim: Numerical 3D-Simulation of the Water, Gas and Solid Phase in a Landfill

S. Schmuck D. Werner  R. Widmann  T. Ricken 

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Technical University of Dortmund, Germany

30 September 2016
| Citation



The model depSIM is a dump simulation model, which allows a detailed and time-scaled focus into the complex processes of a landfill. Description of the mechanical model: The biological, chemical and physical processes in the waste body are closely connected with each other and can be described mechanically. Therefore, a number of differential equations are needed and implemented in the model. The porous media body is examined under the acceptance of a compressible gas phase, a materially incompressible solid state, an organic phase and a liquid phase. For the verification of the numerical model the long-time behaviour (100 years) was simulated. Further details about the model and the mechanical background are summarized in Robeck, Ricken et Widmann: A finite element simulation model of biological conversion processes in landfills [1]. Use potentials: The developed model allows a differentiated, time wise and locally calculation and representation of the temperature, the organic conversion rate, the local pressure ratios and the gas current speeds. There were several case studies with the depSIM model in Germany which show the correlation between the temperature, gas production and gas potential. Therefore three different landfills were evaluated. Here, in the correlation between measured temperature in the landfill body and the temperature in the model was shown. The average divergence between both was less than 2 degree. By the detailed calculation of the gas speeds in every point of the dump an essential improvement arises compared with conventional arithmetic models for gas forecast and gas capture. These forecast models are based on estimated initial parameters. This allows only forecasts for a complete dump or a dump segment, but allows no coupled calculation of the relevant parameters. The model depSIM offers a spatially differentiated consideration of the gas production. However, just a spatially exact, quantitative forecast of the gas production is necessary for dump operator and authorities. The right forecast is elementary for the right dimensioning of the gas collection system and gas treatment and the possible use in combined heat and power units. All gas streams can be shown with the simulation model along the dump surface spatially and time wise differentiated. This allows a locally differentiated dump gas management with a division in areas with active or passive gas collection or to estimate the feasibility of a methane oxidation layer.


biological degradation, gas collection, gas production, landfill, methane oxidation, methane production, simulation, waste disposals


[1] Robeck, M., Ricken, T. & Widmann, R., A multiphase finite element simulation of biological conversion processes in landfills. Waste Management, 31, pp. 663–669, 2011.

[2] Ricken, T. & Ustohalova, V., Modeling of thermal mass transfer in porous media with applications to the organic phase transition in landfills. Computational Material Science, 32, pp. 498–508, 2005.

[3] Ricken, T. & de Boer, R., Multiphase flow in a capillary porous medium. Computational Material Science, 28, pp. 704–713, 2003.

[4] Robeck, M., A FEM Simulation of Transport and Conversion Processes in Landfills using a Multiphase Model Based on the Theory of Porous Media, Shaker Verlag: Aachen, 2012.