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Solving two environmental problems at once

Jyoti Khatri Chetri

Jyoti Khatri Chetri, a PhD candidate in civil, materials, and environmental engineering, received the Graduate Student Award for Exceptional Research Promise from the College of Engineering.

Chetri, a student of Professor Krishna Reddy in the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Laboratory, seeks to develop an “innovative biogeochemical cover” to reduce the gases that escape from landfills.

The research has the potential to reduce the quantity of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere while repurposing waste materials such as steel slag, a byproduct of steel production, and biochar. Chetri’s cover system also promises to reduce odor problems at landfills and improve living conditions for nearby residents.

Jyoti’s approach “offers a practical, low cost and sustainable solution to the landfill operators for fugitive gas control and, at the same time, provides environmental and human health protection,” Reddy said.

The “two solutions in one” aspect may be particularly interesting to the U.S. steel industry, which could benefit from a cost-effective solution for the millions of tons of slag it generates every year. Managing this industrial waste remains a challenge: it is often stockpiled or buried in landfills, neither of which are environmentally friendly or sustainable approaches.

Cherti said her accomplishments derive in part from the positive encouragement she receives in the laboratory.

She described Reddy as a constant supporter. “He provides me with the necessary resources for the research and guidance at every step,” she said. “Apart from research, he constantly motivates me and prepares me for building leadership qualities and professional competence.”

To see Chetri’s published articles, visit her Google Scholar page.