Florentino B. De la Cruz, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scholar and Graduate Faculty Member
Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina State University
915 Fitts-Woolard Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-7908
Email: fbdelacr@ncsu.edu
Tel.: 919-455-7712

Working with solid waste reactors in the “Hot room” with my supervisor Dr. Morton Barlaz (left) and former grad student Dr. Johnsie Lang (foreground)

Overview

My research interests have revolved around the fate and reactivity of organic carbon in solid waste and its role in carbon cycling. My research experience encompasses experimental laboratory and modeling work, both of which have proven to be valuable in answering various research questions. My focus is understanding the fundamental basis that govern various macro-processes in solid waste systems. For example, one of my research is aimed at understanding molecular basis for the recalcitrance of some types of lignocellulose during anaerobic decomposition. In this research I applied state-of-the art solution-based two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (2D NMR) technique of the fully dissolved plant tissue to corroborate observations from a more traditional wet chemical characterization technique such as CuO oxidation.

I am also interested in understanding the interaction of solid waste management systems such as landfills with natural and other engineered systems looking at impacts on air quality (e.g. NMOC and methane emissions) and water quality (e. g. UV absorbance and ammonia). I have also been involved in other aspects of solid waste research including hydrogen sulfide production on construction and demolition wastes (C&D) as well as coal combustion residuals.

I would like to be involved in future research that would improve our current understanding of the waste management system primarily on the responsible and sustainable utilization of resources.  This would require a more holistic approach to solid waste management by applying life-cycle concepts from product conception, design, use/re-use/recycle and ultimately its final disposal (e.g. landfills). Moreover, I am also interested in research that would impact developing countries. Health and sanitation efforts will not be complete without addressing solid waste management issues. For example, solid waste, when not properly disposed will produce leachate that when not contained and treated properly, can contaminate drinking water sources.