Self-sustaining smoldering combustion for NAPL remediation: Laboratory evaluation of process sensitivity to key parameters

Piron,i Paolo, Switzer, Christine, Gerhard, Jason I., Rein, Guillermo and Torero, Jose L. (2011) Self-sustaining smoldering combustion for NAPL remediation: Laboratory evaluation of process sensitivity to key parameters. Environmental Science and Technology, 45 7: 2980-2986. doi:10.1021/es102969z

Author Piron,i Paolo
Switzer, Christine
Gerhard, Jason I.
Rein, Guillermo
Torero, Jose L.
Title Self-sustaining smoldering combustion for NAPL remediation: Laboratory evaluation of process sensitivity to key parameters
Journal name Environmental Science and Technology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0013-936X
Publication date 2011-04-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1021/es102969z
Open Access Status
Volume 45
Issue 7
Start page 2980
End page 2986
Total pages 7
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher American Chemical Society
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 1600 Chemistry
2304 Environmental Chemistry
Abstract Smoldering combustion has been introduced recently as a potential remediation strategy for soil contaminated by nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs). Published proof-of-concept experiments demonstrated that the process can be self-sustaining (i.e., requires energy input only to start the process) and achieve essentially complete remediation of the contaminated soil. Those initial experiments indicated that the process may be applicable across a broad range of NAPLs and soils. This work presents the results of a series of bench-scale experiments that examine in detail the sensitivity of the process to a range of key parameters, including contaminant concentration, water saturation, soil type, and air flow rates for two contaminants, coal tar and crude oil. Smoldering combustion was observed to be self-sustaining in the range 28,400 to 142,000 mg/kg for coal tar and in the range 31,200 to 104,000 mg/kg for crude oil, for the base case air flux. The process remained self-sustaining and achieved effective remediation across a range of initial water concentrations (0 to 177,000 mg/kg water) despite extended ignition times and decreased temperatures and velocities of the reaction front. The process also exhibited self-sustaining and effective remediation behavior across a range of fine to coarse sand grain sizes up to a threshold maximum value between 6 mm and 10 mm. Propagation velocity is observed to be highly dependent on air flux, and smoldering was observed to be self-sustaining down to an air Darcy flux of at least 0.5 cm/s for both contaminants. The extent of remediation in these cases was determined to be at least 99.5% and 99.9% for crude oil and coal tar, respectively. Moreover, no physical evidence of contamination was detected in the treatment zone for any case where a self-sustaining reaction was achieved. Lateral heat losses to the external environment were observed to significantly affect the smoldering process at the bench scale, suggesting that the field-scale lower bounds on concentration and air flux and upper bound on grain size were not achieved; larger scale experiments and field trials where lateral heat losses are much less significant are necessary to define these process limits for the purposes of field application. This work provides valuable design data for pilot field trials of both in situ and ex situ smoldering remediation applications.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 08 Aug 2014, 11:02:25 EST by Julie Hunter on behalf of School of Civil Engineering