Milind Khire Receives ESD Alpha Award

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July 7, 2011

Milind V. Khire, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the 2011 prestigious Alpha Award, presented by the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD), for his invention of recycled material blankets for sustainable biogas recovery and leachate management at landfills.

The ESD Alpha Awards for Innovation in Engineering and Technology recognize and celebrate the creative and original ideas of men and women in the engineering and technology professions who develop innovative solutions to benefit the needs of the general public, business, or academia. The ESD Alpha Awards® foster cooperation among and between organizations in the scientific, technical, and commercial sectors that create significant economic, cultural, environmental, academic, and intellectual benefits to the communities served by ESD member companies.

Award recipients were recognized at the society's 37th Annual Awards Dinner on June 23 at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Khire's project will also be recognized in an upcoming issue of Technology Century Magazine.

Khire has worked as a consultant for landfills for many years and he has observed the design and operational problems associated with existing methods that are used to re-inject leachate or liquids in municipal solid waste landfills and to collect biogas produced in landfills. "Waste is highly heterogeneous and it changes physically and chemically within a landfill due to settlement and degradation," says Khire. "The lack of market for reuse of recycled glass and shredded tires added to my motivation to plan and design a technology that encourages the use of such abundantly available low-cost materials."

In addition, the heightened awareness and need to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and convert biogas to energy all added up to conceive, plan, and test the innovation. In order to put this innovation to the test, Waste Management, Inc. (a private sector firm) provided access to their landfills in Michigan and Minnesota. Funding was provided by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (a non-profit organization) and the National Science Foundation.