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
  • ,


Solid waste optimization life-cycle framework in Python (SwolfPy)
Sardarmehni, M., Anchieta, P. H. C., & Levis, J. W. (2022, January 13), JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13236
Development of Streamlined Life-Cycle Assessment for the Solid Waste Management System
Wang, Y., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2021), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07461
Life-Cycle Assessment of a Regulatory Compliant US Municipal Solid Waste Landfill
Wang, Y., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2021), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c02526
Life-cycle modeling of nutrient and energy recovery through mixed waste processing systems
Sardarmehni, M., & Levis, J. W. (2021), RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105503
Repurposing the Ebola and Marburg Virus Inhibitors Tilorone, Quinacrine, and Pyronaridine: In Vitro Activity against SARS-CoV-2 and Potential Mechanisms
Puhl, A. C., Fritch, E. J., Lane, T. R., Tse, L. V., Yount, B. L., Sacramento, C. Q., … Ekins, S. (2021), ACS OMEGA. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.0c05996
What Is the Best End Use for Compost Derived from the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste?
Sardarmehni, M., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2021), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 55(1), 73–81. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c04997
An Assessment of the Dynamic Global Warming Impact Associated with Long-Term Emissions from Landfills
Wang, Y., Levis, J. W., & Barlaz, M. A. (2020), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 54(3), 1304–1313. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b04066
Application of LCA modelling in integrated waste management
Christensen, T. H., Damgaard, A., Levis, J., Zhao, Y., Bjorklund, A., Arena, U., … Bisinella, V. (2020), WASTE MANAGEMENT, 118, 313–322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2020.08.034
Exploring alternative solid waste management strategies for achieving policy goals
Jaunich, M. K., Levis, J. W., DeCarolis, J. F., Barlaz, M. A., & Ranjithan, S. R. (2020), ENGINEERING OPTIMIZATION. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305215X.2020.1759578
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), The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 24(9), 1587–1601. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-019-01592-z

View all publications via NC State Libraries

View publications on Google Scholar


Life-Cycle Assessment of the EKAMOR Refuse-Derived-Fuel System
EKAMOR, Inc.(12/01/21 - 8/31/22)
Life-Cycle Assessment of NO2 Filter
MANN+HUMMEL Group(4/19/21 - 7/31/21)
Economic and Environmental Comparison of Emerging Plastic Waste Management Technologies
Environmental Research & Education Foundation(10/01/21 - 4/01/23)
AI-Enabled Hyperspectral Imaging Augmented with Multi-Sensory Information for Rapid/Real-time Analysis of Non-Recyclable Heterogeneous MSW for Conversion to Energy
US Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)(10/01/21 - 9/30/23)
Development of a Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Systems Analysis Tool (SAT) to Assist in Prioritization of Destruction Research and Management Decisions
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)(3/22/21 - 3/31/22)
Development of a Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Systems Analysis Tool (SAT) to Assist in Prioritization of Destruction Research and Management Decisions
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)(6/11/20 - 9/30/20)
Optimization of Self-healing Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites via Convolutional Neural Networks
US Army - Corps of Engineers(8/19/21 - 2/11/24)
Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center
National Science Foundation (NSF)(10/01/21 - 9/30/26)
Ensuring Smart and Sustainable Material and Energy Use through Real-Time Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment
RTI International (aka Research Triangle Institute)(1/02/18 - 12/31/18)
Development of a Life-Cycle Model for Open Dumps and Informal Waste Collection
RTI International (aka Research Triangle Institute)(10/14/16 - 9/30/17)