News (from Edinburgh Research and Innovation)

Soil remediation tool a STAR licence for the University

  • 30 July 2010
Soil remediation tool a STAR licence for the University

The University has licensed a revolutionary technology for remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater to Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., a US-based geo-engineering firm.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation has successfully completed a worldwide exclusive licence agreement with US-based geo-environmental firm, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc, to bring an innovative tool for the remediation of soil and groundwater at industrial sites to the commercial marketplace.

Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) is a revolutionary adaptation of smoldering combustion, whereby common sources of contamination to soil and groundwater, such as coal tars, solvents, oils, and petrochemicals, are subjected to a controlled, slow-burning process.

The STAR technology was developed by Professor Jose Torero and Dr Jason Gerhard from the University's School of Engineering, with support from the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept programme.

Results of laboratory and field demonstrations indicate that the STAR process overcomes barriers that hinder many current clean-up operations to destroy these sources of contamination. 

Professor Jose Torero commented: “STAR is very efficient and safe because it takes advantage of the fact that burning these fuels within soil traps and reuses the generated heat and does so without flames. The process self-terminates when the contaminant has been used up.”

Jose’s co-inventor and colleague Dr Jason Gerhard added: “STAR promises to be technically effective, since it is able to overcome barriers to remediation success that hinder many current approaches and promises to be particularly cost effective by avoiding on-going energy provision and treatment of produced water or contaminants.”

Geosyntec provides consulting engineering and science services internationally and is known for its technology leadership and practice innovation in the areas of geotechnical and environmental engineering.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring STAR technology to sites with challenging remediation issues,” said Dr David Major, Geosyntec principal. “We see STAR technology as a significant advancement – a real ‘gamechanger’ for certain types of sites that will provide similar benefits to hazardous waste site owners and responsible parties. Using a number of hazardous waste sites in North America for field demonstrations, we have replicated the technical performance successes our University of Edinburgh colleagues have seen in earlier laboratory and field work tests. Also there have been significant cost savings to site owners – as much as 50 per cent when compared with current commonly used remediation strategies.”

David added: “We are committed to making this technology available worldwide, and especially in establishing a Scottish operation to serve the European marketplace.”

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