Taryn Fournie

Smouldering combustion has been proven as a simple, energy efficient method for treating organic contaminants both in- and ex-situ. The beneficial and harmful by-products being formed and released during the smouldering of organic wastes is not well understood. For example, smouldering of biosolids from wastewater treatment plants has the potential for phosphorus recovery and reuse. Phosphorus is an important nutrient that is required by all plants and is a necessary component of fertilizers required to meet global food demands. As global phosphorus reserves are becoming depleted there is significant interest in recovering the nutrient from other sources, such as biosolids.

The specific objectives of this research are to:

  1. Evaluate the primary risks and potential benefits of key components released and formed in the emissions and post-treatment ash from smouldering organic wastes.
  2. Develop a new method of determining the bioavailability of phosphorus from smouldered organic wastes and compare it to two widely accepted methods to evaluate the applicability and performance.
  3. Evaluate the quantity and forms of metals within the smouldered ash of organic wastes and the leaching characteristics of these compounds to determine the potential for land applying the post-treatment ash.

Personal Background

Taryn completed her undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Western University in June 2017. During her undergraduate program, Taryn participated in the International Development program. Taryn began her graduate program in Environmental Engineering at Western University in May 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Jason Gerhard. Within her graduate studies, Taryn is also doing a collaborative degree in the Environment and Sustainability through the department of Environment and Sustainability. Taryn is also the graduate outreach ambassador for the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and an executive on Western's Water Chapter.


  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship - Western University - 2018
  • Engineering 3MT Heat Prize - Western University - 2018
  • NSERC- CGS- Master's Program - Western University - 2017
  • International Learning Award - Western University - 2016
  • J.D. Hole Global Opportunities - Western University - 2016
  • NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award - Western University - 2015
  • Dean's Honor Role - Western University - 2014-2017
  • Spectra Energy Scholarship - Western University - 2013-2017
  • Western Scholarship of Excellence - Western University - 2013
  • Ontario P.Eng Entrance Scholarship - Western University - 2013