Joel Ducoste

Professor and Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Advancement

Dr. Ducoste is a Professor in the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. He has over 20 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, energy recovery from waste streams, plant biosystems engineering, and solid waste process modeling.  Dr. Ducoste currently serves as a board member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chartered Science Advisory Board, board of directors for Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), board member of the International ultraviolet association (IUVA), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) standards committee, IWA CFD Working Group, and board member of the North Carolina Fulbright Association.  He also serves as the ENE program representative for NCSU with AEESP. Dr. Ducoste is a member of AWWA, WEF, AEESP, IUVA, and a member of AAEES. Dr. Ducoste has served on advisory committees such EPA SAB Drinking Water Committee, EPA SAB Science Technology Awards Committee, EPA SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Committee, North Carolina House of Representative Offshore Energy Exploration Study Committee, WEF FOG Collection Systems Committee, Exploris Middle School Educational Excellence Committee, and Editorial Board Member: Journal of Environment Engineering ASCE.

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.


Dynamic Modeling of Microalgae Growth and Lipid Production under Transient Light and Nitrogen Conditions
Wang, D., Lai, Y.-C., Karam, A. L., Reyes, III, & Ducoste, J. J. (2019), Environmental Science & Technology, 9.
Flux modeling for monolignol biosynthesis
Wang, J. P., Matthews, M. L., Naik, P. P., Williams, C. M., Ducoste, J. J., Sederoff, R. R., & Chiang, V. L. (2019), Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 56, 187–192.
Genetic Algorithm-Genetic Programming Approach to Identify Hierarchical Models for Ultraviolet Disinfection Reactors
Monroe, J. G., Ducoste, J., & Berglund, E. Z. (2019), JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, 145(2).
Increased loading leads to convergence of microbial communities and high methane yield in adapted anaerobic co-digesters
Wang, L., Hossen, E. H., Aziz, T. N., Ducoste, J. J., & Reyes, III. (2019), Water Research.
Measuring the Shape and Size of Activated Sludge Particles Immobilized in Agar with an Open Source Software Pipeline
Weaver, J. E., Williams, J. C., Ducoste, J., & Reyes, F. L. (2019), JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, (143).
Relating nitrogen concentration and light intensity to the growth and lipid accumulation of Dunaliella viridis in a photobioreactor
Lai, Y.-C., Karam, A. L., Sederoff, H. W., Ducoste, J. J., & Reyes, F. L. (2019), Journal of Applied Phycology.
Assessing the impact of the 4CL enzyme complex on the robustness of monolignol biosynthesis using metabolic pathway analysis
Naik, P., Wang, J. P., Sederoff, R., Chiang, V., Williams, C., & Ducoste, J. J. (2018), PLOS ONE, 13(3), e0193896.
Controlling aerobic biological floc size using Couette-Taylor Bioreactors
Weaver, J. E., Hong, H., Ducoste, J. J., & Reyes, III. (2018), Water Research, 147, 177–183.
Development of Photochemical Microsensors for Evaluating Photosynthetic Light Dose Distributions in Microalgal Photobioreactors
Karam, A. L., Reyes, III, & Ducoste, J. J. (2018), Environmental Science & Technology, 10(21), 12538–12545.
Improving wood properties for wood utilization through multi-omics integration in lignin biosynthesis
Wang, J. P., Matthews, M. L., Williams, C. M., Shi, R., Yang, C. M., Tunlaya-Anukit, S., … Shuford, C. M. (2018), Nature Communications, 9.

View all publications via NC State Libraries


Development of Test Methods to Characterize Heat Production from Special Wastes Disposed in Landfills
Environmental Research & Education Foundation(9/01/18 - 8/30/20)
LSAMP BD: North Carolina State University Preparing Researchers of the Future (PROF) NC-LSAMP
National Science Foundation (NSF)(7/01/18 - 6/30/20)
Using Microbial Ecology Theory to Understand Microbial Community Dynamics and Improve Function of Anaerobic Bioreactors
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/01/18 - 7/31/21)
Collaborative Research: Modeling the regulatory network of InsP6 signaling in plants.
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/15/16 - 12/31/19)
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)
CREATIV Dynamic Regulatory Modeling of the Iron Deficiency Response in Arabidopsis thaliana
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/15/12 - 7/31/19)
Assessment of Alternative Herbicides for Roots Intrusion Treatment
RootX Corp.(1/01/11 - 12/31/12)