E.W. “Bill” Tollner, Ph.D., P.E.


E.W. “Bill” Tollner, Ph.D., P.E.

2128 Driftmier Engineering Center
597 D.W. Brooks Dr.
Athens, GA 30602
United States

Wrote textbook “Open-channel design”

  • Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, Auburn University, 1980
  • M.S., Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky, 1974
  • B.S., Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky, 1972
Professional Appointments
  • Professor, University of Georgia, 1980 – present
  • Professor and Graduate Coordinator, 1980 – Present
Awards & Honors

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

Areas of Expertise
  • Natural resources engineering
  • Watershed assessment
  • Post-harvest quality

The overall area of research is to discover system descriptions of hydrologic systems with the overall goal of improving water resource management and watershed ecological health. Applications of control theory and advanced sensing techniques toward the improvement of post harvest quality of fruits and vegetables.

Hydrology at the urban – agricultural interface

Measurement of rainfall-runoff relations in agricultural settings and in urban settings with emphasis on modifying Curve Number tables in coordinatin with an ASCE-EWRI national working group.

Advanced Data mining for developing cause-effect relations

Data mining techniques using computational intelligence and other advanced datamining techniques were explored by a recent student and being continued by a current student. (Present)

Hydrograph-sedigraphs for compost pads and stormwater BMPs

A procedure for developing hydrographs and sedigraphs from stormwater process models has been developed based on linearizing process models and evaluating the system impulse function. (2010 – 2013)

Particle tracking

A modeling technique based on the Gillespie method for solving stochastic differential equations was co-developed with Dr. Caner Kazanci. The method discretizes or quantizes energy, mass or other materials and enables the following of individual quanta of material or virtual elements through a network. In a post path analysis, one may apply various transformations that may simulate chemical reactions, memory, or other transformations to evaluate the impact of a network on means and on distributions of attributes associated with the energy, mass or other flows. (2009 – 2012)

Virtual Cranio-facial Surgery

A software approach is being pursued that, based on serial CT scan data of the craniofacial region, virtual reconstruction of broken jaw mandibles can be done, and prothesis design and fabrication completed prior to invasive surgery, saving operating room time and expense. The following patent has been filed. (2006 – 07) Bhandarkar, S.M., and E.W. Tollner. 2006. InSilicoSurgeon (Version 1): A software package for virtual 3-D reconstructive plastic surgery. Patent No. 8078255 (Patent awarded in 2010)

Watershed Assessment and Modeling

A multidisciplinary team was established to begin assessing the Nzoia river basin, Kenya. This work will be paralleled in Georgia by emphasizing the development of simple process models for a variety of Best Management Practices (BMPs). This modeling work will be in concert with the development of the discipline of Ecological Engineering. I envision this as one tangible outcome from our larger goal of developing the ecological engineering area at UGA. I am helping mentoring young faculty in the ecological engineering area (2004 – 2007).

Onion Packinghouse Model

A spreadsheet model and an Arena simulation of an onion packinghouse have been completed. These models show that the inclusion of internal inspection technology into packinghouse operations results in an excessive loss for the packinghouse (due to rejection of otherwise sellable fruits). However, the inclusion of the technology results in a gain for the consumer and system as a whole.

Modeling Tools

I have modeled a post-harvest system for onions. The model in effect tells why, without a restructured delivery system, a packinghouse operator cannot justify the placement of advanced technology based on the quality improvement alone. Vertical integration of the system would enable profit to be realized. Market forces and security concerns are driving the system slowly in this direction. Developed an excel spreadsheet model useful for shaft design with forces due to gears, belts, and bearing supports. The current instructor is using this model, which is also being presented to the computer applications section of ASEE (2003).

Water supply development and pond water balance models

A package of 3 Excel-based pond design evaluation and construction costing models were developed for use in developing countries. The models are available in English and Spanish (2002).

Composting and Bioconversion Center, 1996 – 99

The GRA-GETC Bioconversion Center was initiated in 1996. Wrote the projects leading to funding this center via the Georgia Research Alliance. Extracellular polysaccharides from selected wastes look promising for a variety of applications (follow on work from earlier work at Auburn University). Coordinated the conversion to sediment pond to runoff-spray application field and coordinated the land application irrigation system design and installation, and continue to serve as the official Biological Treatment plant operator for the site.

Israeli Patent Application No. 092150 on Large Core Soil Sampler

This concept permits collection of virtually undisturbed core samples in PVC sampling tube of 15 cm (diameter) x 30 cm (depth). The sampler was developed with a collaborative scientist for Israel.

Magnetic Resonance and Peanut Quality

Dr. Tollner developed a methodology and adapted a low-resolution NMR system for assessing peanut maturity from a standard batch of 200 kernels. The system lends itself toward automation. The expense and small market share limited the market size. Thus further development was not pursued.

X-ray computed tomography for soil property and food quality determination

Dr. Tollner was among the first few scientists who identified the importance of x-ray CT and NMR imaging and sensing of agricultural systems. He made valuable contributions to the development of a one-of-its-kind laboratory in the world for agricultural research at the Georgia Experiment Station. This laboratory and his contributions have been described in Science News, Advances in Radiography, Popular Mechanics and Fertilizer Progress. Dr. Tollner has developed techniques for measuring soil water, soil density, chemical distribution in soils, and certain quality attributes of fruits.

Instrumentation for mimicking the plant root-hardpan interaction

This concept allows mimicking radial soil failure by roots and mechanical impedance encountered by maintaining a lubricant film at the soil-core interface. U.S. Patent No. 4,432,233, 1986, Cone Penetrometer for Measuring Soil Mechanical Impedance, resulted.

Biological Materials for Sealing Lagoons

Concepts developed are being evaluated for impounding water for fish farming in Alabama. Results of the research are being used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture -Soil Conservation Service for developing national standards for sealing impoundments.

Sediment Control Technique and modeling

Dr. Tollner developed theoretical foundations for the grass filters for sediment control. This knowledge is utilized for sediment control in both urban and mine sites nationally. The “SED CAD” design software includes theoretical approaches developed by Dr. Tollner.


Apparatus for simulating soil mechanical impedance on root growth potential
U.S. Patent 4,432,233

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