Gebert, J.


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
  • Biological treatment of landfill gas
  • Gas transport through soils
  • Anaerobic carbon cycling in sediments
  • Beneficial use of dredged material


The most recent research involves:

CURE: Coupled multiprocess research for reducing landfill emissions

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)

BIOMUD: Turnover of suspended and settled organic matter in ports and waterways

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:

S2S: Sediment to Soil

Climate change-induced increase in water levels have increased the demand for earthen construction materials to heighten and strengthen dikes and embankments. Aged marsh soil, traditionally used for this purpose, is a scarce and hardly renewable resource. On the other hand, maintenance dredging of ports and waterways produces millions of tons of sediment for which transport, treatment and disposal are laborious and costly. The recovery of dredged material as earthen construction material can protect natural soil resources while offering one possible option to handle sediment bulk flow in a beneficial and more economical way. One prerequisite is the proof of functional equivalency with traditional materials. Within this research topic quality criteria for recovered dredged material are to be derived, using empirical field and laboratory research on the development of soil mechanical, physical, chemical and biological properties over the course of the sediment-to-soil ripening process.

GASTRANS: Gas transport through unsaturated soils

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.

  • 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

    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, accepted for publication.

    Zander, F., Heimovaara, T., Gebert, J. (2020): Spatial variability of organic matter degradability in tidal Elbe sediments. Journal of Soils and Sediments. DOI:

    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:

    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. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2016.11.0387; Date posted: April 12, 2017.

    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)

    Julia Gebert

    Associate professor

    • +31 15 27 82798
    • Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

      Building 23

      Stevinweg 1 / PO-box 5048

      2628 CN Delft / 2600 GA Delft

      Room number: 00.520

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