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Remediating hydrocarbon-contaminated land using nanoparticles and microiwaves

Risk Innovation Lab Scholar Justin Webb is co-author on a new paper that looks at a novel way to decontaminate land contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons.

From the paper’s summary:

Remediating soils contaminated with heavy hydrocarbons from petrochemical exploration activities is a major environmental challenge across the globe. Because, long chain, heavy petroleum hydrocarbons in soils create a persistent environmental liability and these heavier fractions are less prone to natural weathering processes. This study demonstrates that carbonaceous nanomaterials because of their favorable dielectric properties show extraordinary heating performances when mixed with soil and microwave irradiated. As a result, adding these nanomaterials to contaminated soils remove more petroleum hydrocarbons than macro-scale carbonaceous additives. These findings can pioneer a novel nanotechnology because large scale microwave systems are available and hold promise for remediating soils when used in conjunction with carbon nanomaterials.

The paper is published in the journal Environmental Science nano:

Apul, O. G., A. G. Delgado, J. Kidd, F. Alam, P. Dahlen and P. Westerhoff (2016). “Carbonaceous nano-additives augment microwave-enabled thermal remediation of soils containing petroleum hydrocarbons.” Environmental Science: Nano. DOI: 10.1039/c6en00261g