Marco A. B. Zanoni

Fundamentals of Applied Smouldering Combustion

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).

Research topics

  • Smouldering Combustion of organic fuels (bitumen, coal tar, oil shale, biosolids, activated carbon, etc.)
  • Waste and contaminant destruction
  • Thermal degradation of fuels (TGA, DSC, FTIR, etc.)
  • Heat transfer in porous media
  • Numerical modelling
  • Energy recovery

Personal Background

MMarco is originally from Brazil and came to Western in September 2012 to work in the RESTORE group as a PhD student. Marco graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil in 2010 and completed his Master’s degree, also in Mechanical Engineering, in 2012 at the same university. His Master’s thesis involved the estimation of kinetic parameters for oil shale smouldering combustion. In 2013, Marco was 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. Marco finished his PhD in Environmental Engineering at Western University in 2018 and is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the RESTORE group.