Joel Ducoste

Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Advancement

Dr. Ducoste is a Professor in the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. He has over 25 years of modeling experience in a number of environmental and engineering applications. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineering member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES).

Dr. Ducoste is a recognized expert in modeling water and wastewater treatment processes using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  His current research interests include physico-chemical processes in water treatment, computational fluid dynamics modeling, water/wastewater process optimization, wastewater sewer collection system sustainability, plant biosystems engineering, and solid waste process modeling.  Dr. Ducoste currently serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Safe and Sustainable Water Resources subcommittee, elected board member of Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professor (AEESP) (serves as President-elect), and board member of the North Carolina Fulbright Association.  Dr. Ducoste is a member of AWWA, WEF, AEESP, and AAEES.

Before his appointment at the university, Dr. Ducoste was a senior process engineer at CH2M HILL’s Water Business Group. He continues to participate as a senior consultant with nationally and internationally recognized firms in water and wastewater projects related to the application of CFD for analyzing designs and troubleshooting treatment problems. Dr. Ducoste also has experience in the design and construction of manufacturing processes for Fortune 100 companies.


Ph.D. 1996

Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

M.Eng 1989

Mechanical Engineering

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

B.S. 1988

Mechanical Engineering

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Research Description

Dr. Ducoste is interested in the operation, design, and optimization of drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. He achieves these goals by incorporating novel experimental techniques and validated numerical models in the analysis of unit processes. He has research experience in the operation and design of chemical mixing, flocculation, sedimentation, and chemical and UV disinfection processes in drinking water treatment. Dr. Ducoste is an expert in modeling water and wastewater treatment process fluid mechanics using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He has developed CFD models for analysis of chemical and UV disinfection reactors, rapid mix chambers, flocculation basins, filtration systems, wastewater activated sludge systems, waste stabilization ponds, secondary clarifiers, and food waste systems. Dr Ducoste is also interested in modeling cellular regulatory and metabolic pathways and interfacing product formation to produce bioreactor models using CFD.


AEESP Endured Despite a Challenging Year
Ducoste, J. J. (2021, September 1), ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING SCIENCE, Vol. 38, pp. 819–821.
AEESP: A Collective Force to Achieve Educational and Research Heights in Environmental Engineering and Science
Ducoste, J. J. (2021), Environmental Engineering Science, 38(1), 1–3.
Algae Dynamic and functional modeling of carbon metabolism in photosynthetic microalgae
Wang, D., Lai, Y., Karam, A. L., de los Reyes, F. L., III, & Ducoste, J. J. (2021, June). , . Presented at the 10th Algal Biomass Biofuels and Bioproducts Conference.
Biodegradation of organophosphorus pesticides in moving bed biofilm reactors: Analysis of microbial community and biodegradation pathways
Bouteh, E., Ahmadi, N., Abbasi, M., Torabian, A., Loosdrecht, M. C. M., & Ducoste, J. (2021), JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, 408.
Chlorophyll a and non-pigmented biomass are sufficient predictors for estimating light attenuation during cultivation of Dunaliella viridis
Karam, A. L., Lai, Y.-C., Reyes, F. L. I. I. I. I. I. I., & Ducoste, J. J. (2021), ALGAL RESEARCH-BIOMASS BIOFUELS AND BIOPRODUCTS, 55.
Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation of Suspended Solids Transport in a Secondary Facultative Lagoon Used for Wastewater Treatment
Zapata Rivera, A. M., Ducoste, J., Ricardo Pena, M., & Portapila, M. (2021), WATER, 9.
Ding Ding Ding, Fatberg right ahead!: The challenges of sewer collection system sustainability and dealing with fats, oils, and grease discharge
Ducoste, J. J. (2021, March). , . Presented at the Drexel University, (Virtual).
Factors that Influence the Formation and Surface Adhesion of Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) Deposits
Kusum, S. A., Pour-Ghaz, M., & Ducoste, J. (2021, March). , . Presented at the Water Environment Foundation Collection Systems Virtual Event, (Virtual).
Measurement of heat release during hydration and carbonation of ash disposed in landfills using an isothermal calorimeter
Narode, A., Pour-Ghaz, M., Ducoste, J. J., & Barlaz, M. A. (2021), WASTE MANAGEMENT, 124, 348–355.
Modeling environmental bioreactors treating wastewater by integrating biological processes, floc microenvironments, and computational fluid dynamics
Weaver, J., de los Reyes, F., & Ducoste, J. J. (2021, June). , . Presented at the Early Career Research Conference, (Virtual).

View all publications via NC State Libraries


Development of a fast-open source model to assess heat generation from alternative landfill disposal strategies
Environmental Research & Education Foundation(6/01/22 - 5/31/24)
Understanding the FOG deposit adhesion mechanism on different sewer line surfaces
NCSU Water Resources Research Institute(3/01/20 - 12/31/21)
Development of Test Methods to Characterize Heat Production from Special Wastes Disposed in Landfills
Environmental Research & Education Foundation(9/01/18 - 6/01/22)
LSAMP BD: North Carolina State University Preparing Researchers of the Future (PROF) NC-LSAMP
National Science Foundation (NSF)(7/01/18 - 6/30/21)
Using Microbial Ecology Theory to Understand Microbial Community Dynamics and Improve Function of Anaerobic Bioreactors
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/01/18 - 7/31/22)
Collaborative Research: Modeling the regulatory network of InsP6 signaling in plants.
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/15/16 - 6/30/21)
Evaluation of Alternative Binder Material to Reduce Sewer Collection system Infrastructure Maintenance and Enhance Sustainability
NCSU Water Resources Research Institute(3/01/16 - 6/30/19)
Quantifying the Grease Interceptor Effluent Fatty Acid concentration and Profile: Impact of Pump out Frequency
Emerson Electric Company(8/01/14 - 5/15/16)
Inducing Aerobic Granulation in Continuous-Flow Reactors using Shear Variability
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/15/13 - 5/31/18)
EFRI-PSBR:Closing the Loop- Towards a PSBR Design Framework for Self-Sustained Marine Microalgal-Based Fuel Production
National Science Foundation (NSF)(9/01/13 - 8/31/19)