James Levis

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. James Levis is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. His research interests are in the area of environmental systems analysis and decision support. Dr. Levis is a member of the Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering as well as the Computing and Systems faculty groups within Civil Engineering. His primary areas of teaching and research focus on solid waste management, sustainable resource management, life-cycle modeling, and optimization.

Presently he is developing and using a life-cycle optimization framework to analyze the interrelated effects of electricity and transportation systems and greenhouse gas policies on sustainable solid waste management and resource recovery using the Solid Waste Optimization Life-cycle Framework (SWOLF).  Dr. Levis is also co-developing an International Institute for Solid Waste Life-Cycle Modeling. He is also investigating the most sustainable ways to recover nutrients and energy from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), as well as exploring sustainable long-term management of MSW for local communities. Dr. Levis is also developing a dynamic life-cycle optimization model capable of estimating optimal configurations and process choices for photosynthetic bioreactors (PSBRs) used in microalgae-to-biofuel systems.

Dr. Levis teaches Engineering Principles of Solid Waste Management (CE477/577), as well as a graduate level course on Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment (CE796).

Dr. Levis’s research sponsors and collaborating agencies include the US EPA, NSF, Environmental Research and Education Foundation, and Wake County Solid Waste Management Division.


Ph.D. 2013

Civil Engineering

North Carolina State University

M.S. 2008

Civil Engineering

North Carolina State University

B.S. 2004

Mechanical Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University

Research Description

Dr. Levis is interested in development and use of novel life-cycle, simulation, and optimization models for decision support with primary applications related to integrated waste management, energy systems, and sustainable infrastructure.

Honors and Awards

  • Fulbright Scholar - Danish Technical University, 2019
  • RTI University Scholar, 2018
  • Air & Waste Management Association 1st Place Dissertation Award, 2014
  • International Solid Waste Association Runner-up Publication Award, 2011
  • Environmental Science and Technology 2nd Runner-up Best Policy Analysis Paper, 2011
  • Environmental Science and Technology Top Ten Most Read Paper, 2011
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Approaches to fill data gaps and evaluate process completeness in LCA-perspectives from solid waste management systems
Henriksen, T., Levis, J. W., Barlaz, M. A., & Damgaard, A. (2019), INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT, 24(9), 1587–1601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-019-01592-z
Economics of Enhancing Nutrient Circularity in an Organic Waste Valorization System
Cobo, S., Levis, J. W., Dominguez-Ramos, A., & Irabien, A. (2019), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 53(11), 6123–6132. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06035
Solid Waste Management Policy Implications on Waste Process Choices and Systemwide Cost and Greenhouse Gas Performance
Jaunich, M. K., Levis, J. W., DeCarolis, J. F., Barlaz, M. A., & Ranjithan, S. R. (2019), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 53(4), 1766–1775. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b04589
Application of a life cycle model for european union policy-driven waste management decision making in emerging economies
Stanisavljevic, N., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2018), Journal of Industrial Ecology, 22(2), 341–355. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12564
A review of the airborne and waterborne emissions from uncontrolled solid waste disposal sites
Levis, J. W., Weisbrod, A., Van Hoof, G., & Barlaz, M. A. (2017), Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1080/10643389.2017.1342513
Construction and setup of a bench-scale algal photosynthetic bioreactor with temperature, light, and ph monitoring for kinetic growth tests
Karam, A. L., McMillan, C. C., Lai, Y. C., Reyes, F. L., Sederoff, H. W., Grunden, A. M., … Ducoste, J. J. (2017), Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, (124).
Evaluation of externality costs in life-cycle optimization of municipal solid waste management systems
Martinez-Sanchez, V., Levis, J. W., Darrigaard, A., DeCarolis, J. F., Barlaz, M. A., & Astrup, T. F. (2017), Environmental Science & Technology, 51(6), 3119–3127. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b06125
Life-cycle modeling of municipal solid waste landfills
Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2017), In Geotechnical frontiers 2017: waste containment, barriers, remediation, and sustainable geoengineering (pp. 355–368). https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784480434.038
National estimate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) release to US municipal landfill leachate
Lang, J. R., Allred, B. M., Field, J. A., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2017), Environmental Science & Technology, 51(4), 2197–2205. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b05005
Characterization of municipal solid waste collection operations
Jaunich, M. K., Levis, J. W., DeCarolis, J. F., Gaston, E. V., Barlaz, M. A., Bartelt-Hunt, S. L., … Jaikumar, R. (2016), Resources Conservation and Recycling, 114, 92–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.07.012

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