Volumetric scale-up of smouldering remediation of contaminated materials

Switzer, Christine and Pironi, Paolo and Gerhard, Jason I. and Rein, Guillermo and Torero, Jose L. (2014) Volumetric scale-up of smouldering remediation of contaminated materials. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 268. pp. 51-60. ISSN 0304-3894

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    Abstract

    Smouldering remediation is a process that has been introduced recently to address non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contamination in soils and other porous media. Previous work demonstrated this process to be highly effective across a wide range of contaminants and soil conditions at the bench scale. In this work, a suite of 12 experiments explored the effectiveness of the process as operating scale was increased 1000-fold from the bench (0.003 m3 ) to intermediate (0.3 m3 ) and pilot field-scale (3 m3 ) with coal tar and petrochemical NAPLs. As scale increased, remediation efficiency of 97–99.95% was maintained. Smoul- dering propagation velocities of 0.6–14 × 10−5 m/s at Darcy air fluxes of 1.54–9.15 cm/s were consistent with observations in previous bench studies, as was the dependence on air flux. The pilot field-scale experiments demonstrated the robustness of the process despite heterogeneities, localised operation, controllability through airflow supply, and the importance of a minimum air flux for self-sustainability. Experiments at the intermediate scale established a minimum-observed, not minimum-possible, initial concentration of 12,000mg/kg in mixed oil waste, providing support for the expectation that lower thresholds for self-sustaining smouldering decreased with increasing scale. Once the threshold was exceeded, basic process characteristics of average peak temperature, destructive efficiency, and treatment velocity were relatively independent of scale.