Research Interests


NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation

Innovative Methods of Remediating Soil and Groundwater

Developing novel technologies for the restoration of sites contaminated with industrial chemicals.  Coupling numerical modelling, pore scale research, laboratory column and flume studies, and field research to evaluate new ideas and optimize remediation applications.  For example, Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) is a new remediation technology developed for soil contaminated with hazardous organic industrial liquids. ‘Self-sustaining smoldering’ is a highly controlled burning reaction - similar to charcoal in a BBQ. As a remediation technique, it destroys NAPLs embedded in soil while simultaneously generating enough energy to propagate itself through the subsurface. This has now been moved from idea to proof-of-concept to full-field application and commercialization.  For more information on this project click here.

Multiphase Flow in Porous Media

Understanding and accurately simulating the migration of non-aqueous phase liquids, such as chlorinated solvents and PCBs, simultaneously with gas and water phases through porous media. Focus on laboratory and numerical studies of the contamination of drinking water aquifers by hazardous industrial liquids.  For numerous publications on this topic, click here.

Geophysics for Mapping Subsurface Remediation

Geophyiscal techniques, including GPR, ERT, and SP, have substantial promise for mapping in situ remediation in real time, tracking both the location and the mass remediated in the subsurface.  We are developing modelling methods to help develop these techniques, and combining them with laboratory and field studies to accelerate this important new aspect of site investigation.  This is leading to new tools for site remediation engineers with substantial potential to improve remediation outcomes.  For more on this family of projects, click here.

Engineering for Sustainability

Increasing the breadth and depth of engineering education to equip engineers with the tools required to lead society towards more sustainable practices. For example, The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to develop a transformative technological solution to human waste. We are working with an international team to develop the next generation toilet for those regions of the world for which Western sanitation is not realistic.  For more information on this project click here.

Current Research Funding

  • Torero, J.L., Martinez, L., Gerhard, J.I. and five others.  Understanding smouldering combustion in porous media.  Ausralian Research Council LINK Project.

  • J.I. Gerhard, STAR Hot Pad Demonstration Project, OCE VIP 2, Industrial support by Savron.

  • J.I. Gerhard. Industrial STAR Research on Gap Jumping, USEPA/Battelle/Geosyntec Consultants.

  • Y.L. Cheng, J.L. Torero, J.I. Gerhard and M. Kortschot (PIs).  Reinvent the Toilet Challenge Phase III, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • B. Sleep, J.I. Gerhard, and nine others.  RENEW: Remediation Education Network, NSERC CREATE.

  • J.I. Gerhard (PI).  Infrastructure Operating Fund, CFI -  2013 – 2015.

  • P. Johnson, J. Gerhard, and 19 others (PIs).  In-Situ Remediation of Heavy Hydrocarbons in Vadose Zone Soils, Chevron Energy Technology Company - 5 years, 2012 – 2017.

  • J.I. Gerhard. Developing Novel Approaches for Mapping and Destroying Industrial Pollutants in Soil, NSERC, Discovery Grant, - five years 2012 – 2017.

  • J.I. Gerhard, Canada Research Chair in Geoenvironmental Restoration Engineering, Canada Research Chairs Program - five years, 2012 – 2017.

  • B. Sleep, J.I. Gerhard, D. O’Carroll, E. Edwards, K. Mumford and E. Acosta (PIs).  Innovative Combined Treatment Technologies for Remediating Contaminated Groundwater, Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence Water Round, Ministry of Research and Innovation -5 years, 2011 – 2016.

  • J.I. Gerhard (PI).  Self-Sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation on Real Soils, Industrial Research (SiREM) - six years 2010-2016.