Laura Kinsman

Scaling Relationships of Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR)

Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) is a new remediation approach for soil contaminated with organic industrial liquids. This technology uses smouldering combustion, a controlled burning reaction, to destroy these contaminants and thereby rendering soil clean. While STAR has been proven at the bench scale, success at industrial scales requires the process to be scaled-up significantly. The objective of Laura's research is to conduct an experimental and analytical investigation of how liquid smouldering combustion phenomena scale. This project involves a comparison of key governing parameters between small, intermediate, and large scale experiments, which provide a contrast in scale of up to 500 times. An understanding of these scaling relationships is important for full commercialization and the design of field-scale applications of STAR.

Personal Background

Laura graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2012 with a concurrent Bachelor's degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science. During her undergraduate education, she became interested in subsurface remediation through two summer research positions in the RESTORE group. As part of her undergraduate degree, Laura also completed a 16-month professional internship at Environment Canada, where she worked on a project investigating the fate of trace contaminants in Canadian wastewater treatment plants. Upon returning to Western for her final year of her Bachelor's degree, Laura completed a fourth-year thesis on Characterizing Groundwater Flows in the Alberta Oil Sands using Major Ions with Dr. Jason Gerhard and Dr. Clare Robinson. The combination of these positive research experiences led her to the decision to pursue a Master's degree at Western University.

Travel and Awards


  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship - 2013
  • International Association of Hydrogeologists Congress - Poster Presentation - 2012
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council - Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship - 2012
  • Western Gold Medal for Highest Overall Graduating Average in a Three-Year Science Program - 2012
  • J.P. Bickell Foundation Mining Scholarship - 2010
  • Professor Mel Poucher Award in Civil Engineering - 2009
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council - Undergraduate Summer Research Award - 2009
  • Lloyd W. Bracewell - Bracewell Engineering Inc. Award - 2008
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council - Undergraduate Summer Research Award - 2008