Julia is a biologist and soil scientist, educated at the University of Hamburg, Germany. She has been principal investigator in several projects concerning the biological treatment of landfill gas. Another focus of her work concerns anaerobic carbon cycling in river sediments and the beneficial use of dredged material as construction material, e.g. in dikes. The strength of her work lies in crossing traditional discipline boundaries to investigate complex problems, combining concepts and methods from soil physics and chemistry, microbiology and engineering. The use of fundamental research to address applied questions further earmarks her work. After several years as head of the Environmental Services Unit at Hamburg Port Authority she joined TU Delft in Mai 2017 where she now holds a position as associate professor in the section Geo-Engineering.
- Microbial oxidation of methane
- Sustainable landfilling
- Gas transport through soils
- Carbon cycling in sediments
- Beneficial use of dredged material
The most recent research involves:
The Seaport Emden avoids the cost-intensive post-dredging relocation of mud in the waterways. Instead, the sediments are circulated through the trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) and released back into the water. This causes a well-ventilated fluid mud layer in which ships can safely navigate, sail, and maneuver. However, possible increases in the discharge of hinterland freshwater, forecasted to result from climate change, may alter this well working system. In this project, TU Delft, Deltares, GEOMAR (DE) and the University of Hamburg (DE) conduct mesocosm experiments to investigate whether and how the microbial community and its activity as well as sediment rheological parameters and organic matter degradability in the Seaport will be affected by changes in hinterland water discharge to the port.
PIs: Julia Gebert (Geoscience & Engineering), Alex Kirichek (Hydraulic Engineering)
This project aims to elucidate how the lability and hence the biological turnover of organic matter affects the processes of flocculation, sedimentation and consolidation of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in surface waters, leading to the formation of layers of different rheological properties in the transition zone between the water phase and the genuine river bed. The rheological properties determine the definition of the nautical bottom as well the technical feasibility and the required economic effort for maintenance dredging in ports and waterways. The research therefore directly links fundamental questions to applied dredging practice as carried out in all major ports worldwide.
The project is part of the MUDNET(work), which includes more stakeholders and projects concerned with the behaviour and handling of sediments and dredged material: www.mudnet.eu
Worldwide, landfilling remains an important aspect of solid waste management. Long-term emissions of landfill gas to the atmosphere and dissolved contaminants to groundwater are the result of bio-geochemical reactions acting on the landfilled wastes. In this project, fundamental research will be conducted regarding the relationship between the conversion of waste organic matter and the emissions of pollutants in the context of a full-scale field trial into the sustainable aftercare of three Dutch landfills. The research will lead to methods that enable sustainable management of contaminated sites, thereby minimising emissions of contaminants to the environment and reducing the time over which society has to actively manage the pollution arising from these sites.
Principal investigator: Dr. Julia Gebert
Co-investigators: Dr. Anne-Catherine Dieudonné (TU Delft), Prof. Dr. Timo Heimovaara (TU Delft), Prof. Dr. Rob Comans (WUR)
Gas transport through mineral soils and other materials is relevant for the design of gas drainage layers and for methane oxidation systems, for example on landfills. In partially saturated soils, gas conductivity and effective diffusivity strongly depend on the share of the available water-free pore space, which in turn is influenced by texture, degree of compaction and soil moisture level. The current research investigates empirical relationships between gas transport properties and soil properties and aims at developing design criteria for two-layered methane oxidation systems optimized for the spatial distribution of landfill gas at the bottom of the methane oxidation layer.
Increase of sea level and land subsidence necessitate strengthening of coastal defenses. Sediment-to-Soil (S2S) studies the processes of soil ripening, their optimization and predictability to advance use of fine-grained dredged sediment as alternative earthen construction material. This spares natural soil resources and enables a beneficial, sustainable and more economical sediment management. Before use, the dredged sediment needs to undergo a ripening process transforming it from a saturated, unconsolidated and unstructured material into a drained, consolidated, structured, biogeochemically stable and environmentally compliant soil, meeting the required soil mechanical properties. S2S will provide the scientific basis for understanding, optimizing and predicting the complex multi-phase soil ripening process. Project outputs will comprise a scientifically-supported protocol for optimized soil ripening, soil ripening indices and an openly accessible model combining settling and consolidation with biogeochemical ripening processes.
PI: Julia Gebert
Co-PIs: Claire Chassagne (TU Delft, Hydraulic Engineering), Rob Comans (Wageningen University and Research)
- AES 1640 Environmental Geotechnics (full course)
- AES 1630 Engineering Geology
- CIE 4780 Trending Topics in Geo-Engineering
- AESB3110 Geo-resources 1.0: Past and Present
- AESB1241 Grand Challenges and Applied Earth Sciences
Gebert, J., de Jong, T., Beaven, R., Rhees-White, T., Lammen, H. (2022): Spatial variability of leachate tables, leachate composition and hydraulic conductivity in a landfill stabilized by in situ aeration. Detritus, accepted for publication 12 May 2022.
Meza, N., Lammen, H., Cruz, C., Heimovaara, T., Gebert J. (2022): Spatial variability of gas composition and flow in a landfill under in-situ aeration. Detritus, accepted for publication 12 May 2022.
Gebert, J., Huber-Humer, M., Cabral, A. (2022): Design of microbial methane oxidation systems for landfills. Frontiers in Environmental Science, accepted for publication 09 May 2022.
Shakeel, A., Zander, F., Gebert, J., Chassagne, C., Kirichek, A. (2022): Influence of anaerobic degradation of organic matter on the rheological properties of cohesive mud from different European ports. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10, 446. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10030446
Zander, F., Shakeel, A., Kirichek, A., Chassagne, C., Gebert, J. (2022): Effects of organic matter degradation in cohesive sediment: Linking sediment rheology to spatio-temporal patterns of organic matter degradability. Journal of Soils and Sediments. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-022-03155-6
Shakeel, A., Zander, F., de Klerk, J.-W., Kirichek, A., Gebert, J., Chassagne, C. (2022): Effect of organic matter degradation in cohesive sediment: A detailed rheological analysis. Journal of Soils and Sediments. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-022-03156-5
Vijay, V., Shreedhar, S., Adlak, K., Payyanad, S., Sreedharan, V., Gopi, G., van der Voort, T.S., Malarvizhi, P., Yi, S., Gebert, J., Aravind, P.V. (2021): Review of Large-Scale Biochar Field-Trials for Soil Amendment and the Observed Influences on Crop Yield Variations. Frontiers in Energy Research 9, Article 710766. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenrg.2021.710766
Nicholls, R.J., Beaven, R.P., Stringfellow, A., Monfort, D, Le Cozannet, G., Wahl, T., Gebert, J., Wadey, M., Arns, A., Spencer, K.L., Reinhart, D., Heimovaara, T., Santos, V.M., Enríquez, A.R., Cope, S. (2021): Coastal Landfills and Rising Sea Levels: A Challenge for the 21st Century. Frontiers in Marine Science 8, Article 710342. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.710342
Van Verseveld, C.J.W., Gebert, J. (2020): Effect of compaction and soil moisture on the effective permeability of sands for use in methane oxidation systems. Waste Management 105, 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2020.03.038
Zander, F., Heimovaara, T., Gebert, J. (2020): Spatial variability of organic matter degradability in tidal Elbe sediments. Journal of Soils and Sediments. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-020-02569-4
Gebert, J., Groengroeft, A. (2019): Long-term hydraulic behaviour and soil ripening processes in a dike constructed from dredged material. Journal of Soils and Sediments 20, 1793-1805. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-019-02541-x
Berger, K., Gröngröft, A., Gebert, J. (2019): 20 years performance of a landfill cover system with components constructed from pre-treated dredged sediments. Waste Management 100, 230-239.
Gebert, J., Knoblauch, C., Gröngröft, A. (2019): Gas production from dredged sediment. Waste Management 85, 82-89.
Gebert, J., Streese-Kleeberg, J. (2017): Coupling stable isotope analysis with gas push-pull tests to derive in-situ values for the fractionation factor αox associated with the microbial oxidation of methane in soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2016.11.0387
Geck, C. Scharff, H., Pfeiffer, E.-M., Gebert, J. (2016): Validation of a simple model to predict the performance of methane oxidation systems, using field data from a large scale biocover test field. Waste Management 56, 280-289.
Gebert, J., Rachor, I.M., Streese-Kleeberg, J., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2016): Methane oxidation in a landfill cover soil under conditions of diffusive and advective flux, assessed by in-situ and ex-situ methods. Current Environmental Engineering 3 (2), 144-160.
Röwer, I.U., Scharff, H., Pfeiffer, E.-M., Gebert, J. (2016): Optimized landfill biocover for CH4 oxidation I: Experimental design and oxidation performance. Current Environmental Engineering 3 (2), 80-93.
Röwer, I.U., Streese-Kleeberg, J., Scharff, H., Pfeiffer, E.-M., Gebert, J. (2016): Optimized landfill biocover for CH4 oxidation II: Implications of spatially heterogeneous fluxes for monitoring and emission prediction. Current Environmental Engineering 3 (2), 94-106.
Gebert, J., Perner, M. (2015): Differentiation of microbial community composition in soil by preferential gas flow. European Journal of Soil Biology 69, 8-16.
Preuss, I., Knoblauch, C., Gebert, J., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2013): Improved quantification of microbial CH4 oxidation efficiency in arctic wetland soils using carbon isotope fractionation. Biogeosciences 10, 2539-2552.
Rachor, I., Gröngröft, A., Gebert, J., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2013): Variability of methane emissions from an old landfill on different time scales. European Journal of Soil Science 64, 16-26.
Gebert, J., Knoblauch, C., Gadd, G., Pfeiffer, E.-M., Dilly, O. (2011): Sustainability of geochemical cycling. Editorial. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 110, doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2011.04.008.
Gebert, J., Rachor, I., Gröngröft, A., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2011): Temporal variability of soil gas composition in landfill covers. Waste Management 31, 935-945.
Gebert, J., Röwer, I. U., Scharff, H., Roncato, C. D. L., Cabral, A. R. (2011): Can soil gas profiles be used to assess microbial CH4 oxidation in landfill covers? Waste Management 31, 987-994.
Rachor, I., Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2011): Assessment of the methane oxidation capacity of compacted soils intended for use as landfill cover materials. Waste Management 31, 833-842.
Röwer, I. U., Geck, C., Gebert, J., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2011): Spatial variability of soil gas concentrations and methane oxidation in landfill cover soils. Waste Management 31, 926-934.
Bohn, S., Brunke, P., Gebert, J., Jager, J. (2011): Influence of vegetation on microbial methane oxidation – A column study. Waste Management 31, 854-863.
Streese-Kleeberg, J., Rachor, I., Gebert, J., Stegmann, R. (2011): Field quantification of methane oxidation in landfill cover soils by means of gas push-pull tests. Waste Management 31, 995-1001.
Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A., Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2011): Relevance of soil physical properties for the microbial oxidation of methane in landfill covers. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43, 1759-1767.
Gebert, J., Singh, B.K., Pan, Y., Bodrossy, L. (2009): Activity and structure of methanotrophic communities in landfill cover soils. Environmental Microbiology Reports 1, 414-423.
Scheutz, C., Bogner, J., De Visscher, A., Gebert, J., Hilger, H., Huber-Humer, M., Kjeldsen, P., Spokas, K. (2009): Microbial methane oxidation processes and technologies for mitigation of landfill gas emissions. Waste Management & Research 27, 409-455.
Cabral, A.R., Capanema, M.A., Gebert, J., Moreira, J.F., Jugnia, L.B. (2009): Quantifying microbial methane oxidation efficiencies in two experimental landfill biocovers using stable isotopes. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 209, 157-172.
Huber-Humer, M., Gebert, J., Hilger, H. (2008): Biotic systems to mitigate landfill methane emissions. Waste Management & Research 26, 33-46.
Gebert, J., Stralis-Pavese, Alawi, M., N. & Bodrossy, L. (2008): Analysis of methanotrophic communities in landfill biofilters by means of diagnostic microarray. Environmental Microbiology 10, 1175-1188.
Gebert, J., Köthe, H., Gröngröft, A. (2006): Methane formation by dredged sediment. Journal of Soils and Sediments 6, 75-83.
Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A. (2006): Performance of a passively vented field-scale biofilter for the microbial oxidation of landfill methane. Waste Management 26, 399-407.
Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A. (2006): Passive landfill gas emission – influence of atmospheric pressure and implications for the operation of methane-oxidising biofilters. Waste Management 26, 245-251.
Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A., Schloter, M., Gattinger, A. (2004): Community structure in a methanotroph biofilter as revealed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis. FEMS Microbiology Letters 240, 61-68.
Gebert, J., Gröngröft, A., Miehlich, G. (2003): Kinetics of microbial landfill methane oxidation in biofilters. Waste Management 23, 609-619.
- Chair of the task group CLEAR (Consortium of Landfill Emissions Abatement Research) of the International Waste Working Group (IWWG)
- Member of the German Port Technology Association (Hafentechnische Gesellschaft, HTG)
- Member of the German Soil Science Association (Deutsche Bodenkundliche Gesellschaft, DBG)
- Member of the Dutch Soil Science Association (Nederlandse Bodemkundige Vereniging, NBV)