STAR as an Innovative Alternative for Source Zone Remediation

Presented on Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Gabriel Sabadell, Ph.D., P.E.1, Gavin Grant, Ph.D., P.Eng.2, David Major, Ph.D., BCES3 and Grant Scholes, M.E.Sc., P.Eng.3, (1)Savron, (2)Savron, Toronto, ON, Canada, (3)Savron, Guelph, ON, Canada

STAR is an innovative approach for the remediation of groundwater source zones impacted by recalcitrant compounds such as coal tar, creosote, or petroleum hydrocarbons. STAR is an in situ thermal treatment technology based on smoldering combustion in porous media, where the contaminants are the primary fuel. STAR has been demonstrated to be effective in situ remediation of nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminated media due to key properties of the process, including: (1) STAR requires only a short duration energy input (i.e., ignition) to initiate treatment; (2) STAR is self-sustaining and propagates radially outward through the NAPL source zone without additional energy input; (3) the treatment naturally progresses through the subsurface zones occupied by NAPL contaminants; and (4) STAR only requires the injection of air versus costly amendments.

Numerous field evaluations and applications over the past several years inform the design of STAR systems and our understanding of the technology’s operational limits. The technology is robust and applicable to a wide range of contaminants and range of hydrogeologic settings, but is best suited to high concentration source zones of low volatility compounds such as coal tar, creosotes, or high molecular weight petroleum hydrocarbons (heavy hydrocarbons). Additionally, STAR has been demonstrated to treat higher volatility compounds such as diesel range organics (DRO) or gasoline range organics (GRO), typically with the addition of a low-volatility surrogate fuel such as vegetable oil.

This presentation will provide an overview of the technology, factors affecting site-specific applicability including insight into the importance of quality site investigation data and a rigorous Conceptual Site Model (CSM), pre-design evaluations that may be performed, and a demonstration of how the technology is implemented for successful site remediation. While STAR may be applied for a range of site conditions, emphasis will be on utilizing the technology for source zone remediation .

Gabriel Sabadell, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Sabadell has over 30 years of experience addressing soil and groundwater contamination and remediation for a wide range of clients, having worked at over 400 sites nationally and internationally. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Virginia, respectively. He received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, from the Ground Water Hydrology program at Colorado State University. Prior to joining Savron in April 2018, Dr. Sabadell was employed by Chevron Energy Technology Company’s (CETC) Environmental Technology Unit (ETU)where he was the Program Lead for the ETU Soil and Sediment Remediation research portfolio, with projects ranging from proof of concept up through field-scale demonstrations. During this time he worked with Savron developing the STAR technology.

Gavin Grant, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Savron, Toronto, ON, Canada
Gavin Grant, Ph.D., P.Eng. has more than 15 years of experience in the field of environmental remediation and the development and implementation of the Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) technology. He completed his Ph.D. studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, under the direction of Dr. Jason Gerhard - co-inventor of the STAR technology. Dr. Grant is the Operations lead for Savron and has been the primary project manager, director, or technical lead on all STAR and STARx-related projects to date, working with top-tier clients in the chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, and utility industries. Dr. Grant is also an Adjunct Professor at Western University, supervising numerous graduate students studying smoldering combustion for remediation.
David Major, Ph.D., BCES
Savron, Guelph, ON, Canada
Dr. David Major has over 25 years of international experience in negotiating, managing and directing the development and deployment of cost-effective remediation strategies for challenging contaminated sites for Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, and NASA. Dr. Major was inducted into the Space Hall of Fame® for helping NASA commercialize one of the “Products from Space Benefiting Planet Earth”. He has also been successful in commercializing intellectual property from the University of Waterloo, University of Tennessee, University of Toronto, Stanford University and DuPont for the treatment of contaminated groundwater, and biomolecular markers and genes in environmental samples. In 2007 he received a University of Waterloo, Faculty of Science Alumni of Honour Award in recognition of his professional accomplishments. He is currently an Associate Editor of Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation.
Grant Scholes, M.E.Sc., P.Eng.
Savron, Guelph, ON, Canada
Mr. Scholes, Lead Engineer, has spent over 12 years in the environmental industry focusing on the design, operation and construction of remediation systems and development of new technologies. Mr. Scholes has led the technical development of STAR and STARx from the initial pilot tests through to full scale designs of both the in situ and ex situ applications designing and optimizing customized equipment and developing operating procedures for field application.Grant has been involved with the STAR technology since its inception and received his Masters of Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario, under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gerhard, one the STAR inventors, where ignition method development and field implementation of STAR were the focus of his graduate work
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