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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Combustion technology for the remediation of soil contaminants

The next IIE Seminar is on Thursday April 21 at 1 pm, AGB seminar room 3rd floor. Pizza will be served at 12.45pm.

"Self-Sustaining Smouldering Combustion for the Remediation of Organic Industrial Liquids in Soil"


Jason I. Gerhard (
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Self-sustaining smoldering combustion is an innovative approach for clean-up of sites contaminated with liquid waste from industrial processes. This approach offers significant potential for the destruction of highly recalcitrant compounds, such as coal tar and petroleum hydrocarbons, for which clean-up options are currently limited and very costly.

Smoldering is the flameless combustion of a liquid or solid fuel that derives heat from surface oxidation reactions; smoldering of charcoal in a barbeque is a typical example. This research, pioneered at University of Edinburgh, was the first to demonstrate that liquid tar in soil may be effectively destroyed via smoldering. Further research has revealed that the process has the unique properties of being self-sustaining, self-targeting, and self-terminating, all of which may make it uniquely cost efficient and technically effective.

This presentation will illustrate the scientific principles behind this remediation concept, and summarize the six years of research that has been conducted to date. The results of experiments from proof-of-concept to the first in situ field pilot study will be presented. This research represents an ongoing collaboration between University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, and University of Western Ontario. The technology has been licensed to SiREM, who is developing the technology under the name Self-Sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR).

Short Bio
Dr. Jason Gerhard has over 15 years of experience leading experiments and modelling for investigating organic industrial contaminants in the subsurface and their remediation. He graduated with an honours B.Sc. (Eng.) in Geological Engineering in 1993 and an M.Sc. (1995) and Ph.D. (2002) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). From 2002, he was a Lecturer in Environmental Engineering at University of Edinburgh. Since 2007, Dr. Gerhard holds the Canada Research Chair in Geoenvironmental Restoration at The University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. At Western, Dr. Gerhard is co-director of the RESTORE Group (Research for Subsurface Transport and Remediation) with more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, 4 laboratories, and 3 field research programs.

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