Superfund Research Program
Microwave Technology for Superfund Site Remediation
Project Leader: Chang Yul Cha
Grant Number: R43ES011905
Funding Period: Phase I: 2002-2004
The dual extraction method, commonly applied in hazardous site remediation, uses a vacuum sweep, air stripping and catalytic oxidation. Catalytic oxidation, however, not only requires a significant amount of supplemental fuel but also produces secondary air pollutants including nitrogen oxides and dioxins. As a result, this method may not be acceptable to the public as an appropriate technology used to cleanup hazardous substances at Superfund sites. The need exists for an innovative technology that will recover chemicals in soil vapors and in the air from the air stripper without using the catalytic oxidizer.
CHA Corporation proposes considering a microwave energy solution, which can be used to desorb organic contaminants from granular activated carbon (GAC). The CHA Corporation has focused on the use of microwaves to induce or enhance chemical reactions for the past ten years, and has developed a microwave-based air purification technology that can be effectively used to recover chemicals from soil vapors produced during hazardous site remediation without using a catalytic oxidizer.
The first phase of this project will focus on the design, construction, and testing of a field-ready prototype microwave treatment system in the laboratory. Once this testing has been completed, the prototype system will be brought to a Superfund site for a field demonstration. The results of this demonstration will be examined to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the technology as a cost-effective method for recovering chemicals from soil vapors.