This research agenda provides a list of topics for researchers to consider in submitting proposals to the Hinkley Center. The list presented below is organized with broad topic headings, and with detailed suggestions below each topic. Each year the Center asks solid waste professionals to identify research topics that may be suitable for a research project. A list of all the research ideas which were submitted during the survey process can be found on the Center’s web site. The Hinkley Center is issuing this Research Agenda in the hopes that it may assist researchers with their efforts to identify suitable topics for next year’s research projects. Researchers are encouraged to view the Center’s web site to see research that has previously been funded. The Center welcomes the submittal of research proposals on topics that are not on this list.
Please note: the Hinkley Center will not fund a proposed research project simply because the research topic was included in this Research Agenda. The Hinkley Center evaluates the proposals that it receives each year and then determines whether, and the extent to which, funds will be provided to proposed projects. The decision to approve or reject a proposal depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: (a) the merits, timeliness, and relevance of each research topic and proposal; (b) the amount of funds available for funding new projects; (c) the number and cost of the research projects that have been proposed; (d) the research projects that already are underway or have been completed; and (e) whether the proposed topic and proposal will help the Hinkley Center advance its overall mission. The Hinkley Center has the exclusive authority to evaluate and weigh each of these factors, based on its sole discretion, in light of the facts known at the time when the proposals are evaluated. Consequently, the Hinkley Center may provide funds for research topics that are not included in this Research Agenda and the Hinkley Center may reject proposals that are based on one or more of the topics included in this Research Agenda.
Beneficial Use of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Ash
1. If operators did not mix the bottom ash and the fly ash together at Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Plants,
would they be able to recycle the bottom ash into useful products such as paving stones? Would using
bottom ash as an ingredient in making paving stones cause stormwater to become contaminated with
something that would leach out of the paving stones?
2. What are the economics of disposing of wastewater biosolids in Class 1 landfills? Can landfills turn the
disposal of biosolids into a good source of revenue?
Iron in Groundwater at Landfill Facilities
3. Should the FDEP use a different standard than the secondary drinking water for iron when a
downgradient monitoring well near a landfill has iron concentrations that are in excess of the secondary
drinking water standard for iron?
Energy from Waste Sites
4. How does landfill settlement impact solar photo-voltaic cells that are installed on closed landfills?
What are the impacts of landfill settlement when using solar panels on closed landfills (as a liner cap
5. How does one integrate the use of landfill gas collection systems, electrical generators, wind
generators, the use of biomass and the use of solar energy at landfills so that the landfill becomes a
“sustainable energy park”?
6. According to new federal rules, solid waste collection trucks will be required to cut fuel consumption
and greenhouse gas emissions by about 10% before the end of the decade. What are some possible
strategies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions? Can other fuels such as biodiesel or
compressed natural gas be used to help meet these federal goals?
7. What are the employment history, economic impacts, and the net environmental impacts of the 1988
Florida Solid Waste Act? Has this act created or reduced the numbers of jobs? What could the
Legislature or the FDEP do to encourage more job creation within the waste management and recycling
Landfill Closure Systems
8. What are the costs and benefits of the use of exposed geo-membrane cap (EGC) systems relative to the
use of traditional landfill closure systems that use cover soils and grass?
9. What are the reliable quantitative methods for measuring odors at solid waste management facilities?
10. Do Landfill Gas Collection Systems (GCS) that are installed at the time that a landfill cell is being built
perform as well as traditional vertical and horizontal gas collection wells?
11. What is the performance of single stream recycling programs? Do they result in a net loss or gain in
12. What are the impacts of going to a volume based collection system? Does a volume-based collection
system increase the amount of illegal dumping?
13. How do “wetting agents” (surfactants) impact soils, groundwater and surface water? Should “wetting
agents” be regulated?
14. What are some viable uses for glycerin that is contaminated with methanol that is a byproduct of the
manufacturing of biodiesel?
15. Are there ways to reduce the amount of fuel used in the process of collecting solid waste and materials
to be recycled? Would the use of alternative fuels in collection vehicles be a net benefit?
16. What are the long-term impacts of the use of compact-fluorescent (CF) lights on landfills, material
recovery facilities, landfill leachate, and the collection and use of landfill gas?
17. How efficient are Waste-to-Energy Plants in terms of destroying pharmaceuticals in MSW?