Marco A. B. Zanoni

Smouldering Combustion of Organic Liquids in an Inert Porous Medium: Advancing Process Understanding in the Context of STAR Remediation of Soil

Self-Sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) is a new treatment technology with the potential to combine technical effectiveness, quick treatment, and substantial savings in operation and maintenance costs relative to currently available techniques for remediating groundwater and soil contamination. This technology is based upon the principle of ‘self-sustaining liquid smouldering’ which destroys NAPL in the subsurface, while simultaneously generating heat to sustain propagation through the subsurface. As a result, it is far less energy intensive (and therefore less costly to operate) than traditional thermal technologies for groundwater and soil remediation.

The goal of this project is to improve our fundamental understanding of smouldering combustion of an organic liquid in an inert porous medium. The main methodology will be to answer the question: what is the least complex set of mass, momentum, energy and chemical reaction equations required to describe the system behaviour of STAR in a one-dimensional system? The project will address different kinetic reaction frameworks (from simple to complex) for coal tar and bitumen smouldering in a one-dimensional model developed in COMSOL Multiphysics that will take into account local thermal non-equilibrium among phases. The numerical simulations will explore the ability of the model to simulate different key smouldering scenarios and transition points (i.e., appropriate sensitivity to key boundary conditions and model parameters).

Personal Background

Marco is from Brazil and came to Western in September 2012 to work in the RESTORE group as a Master's student. Marco has graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Federal University of Espirito Santo in Brazil and has recieved his Master’s degree, also in Mechanical Engineering, in 2012 from the same university. His Master’s thesis involved the estimation of kinetic parameters for the smouldering combustion of oil shale, which resulted in publishing two papers in prestigious journals. Recently, Marco has been recognized with a Brazilian award called Petrobras Award of Technology as the best Master's thesis in Energy. After completing his Master's degree, Marco had the opportunity to research smouldering combustion in the RESTORE group and did not hesitate to join the team. Here, he has had the opportunity to deal with some of the most challenging environmental issues. Currently, Marco is a PhD student in the RESTORE group.