SORBENT-DEMO project aims entering the soil remediation market with a cost-effective and highly efficient soil remediation technique applied in-situ to remove accidentally or intentionally deposited oil as well as historical oil contamination.

 

This technique consisting of three independent stages each based on different remediation approach has already proved it’s applicability to all types of oil (including crude and heavy oil) in different soil profiles and convenient use in areas difficult to approach. To achieve this goal SORBENT-DEMO will do full scale demonstrations of this novel SORBENT technique and its products developed under the activities of successfully implemented research project SORBENT, which has been financed from FP7-SME-2008-1 call.

 

The overall objective of SORBENT-DEMO Project is to carry out the targeted full-scale demonstration of the novel cost-efficient SORBENT soil remediation technique applied in-situ to sites contaminated with heavy hydrocarbon mixtures for bringing sites back to the acceptable environmental standards and to develop the framework to get regulatory acceptance of the novel technique.

 

The main demonstration objectives of SORBENT-DEMO project are:

 

  • To evaluate the performance of separate SORBENT technique elements under different conditions with regard to geography, soil profile and oil pollutants.
  • To verify the different combinations of the independent elements of SORBENT technique to solve the contamination problems depending on initial concentration, location, and etc.

 

Evaluation objectives are the following:

 

  • To define procedures to deploy the new SORBENT integrated technique and to gain regulatory acceptance for its usage.
  • To prepare business plan for assessment of perspectives for SORBENT technique and market replication plan for competitive business development.

 

Non-technical objectives of the project are:

 

  • To raise awareness of soil contamination issues to gain more interest in the SORBENT technique and its products.
  • To define the exploitation strategy to maximize the value of the project to SMEs.

 

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Pollution, environment, bioremediation, phytoremediation, microorganism, plants, bacteria, hidrocarbons, soil, …

 

To achieve the most efficient oil polluted soil treatment it is recommended to carry out the three stages

of treatment with SORBENT technique:

SORBENT bacterial preparation is a tailored mix of non-pathogenic bacteria, targeted for the decontamination of hydrocarbon polluted environment which can be used separately from the concentration of 220 g/kg, which is the maximum level of contaminant concentration in soil when microbial strains hydrocarbon degraders can effectively start the biodegradation processes.

 

SORBENT phyto-remediation process was found to be the most effective with two plant species: timothy (Phleum pratense) and ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

 

Contamination problem

Humanity grow and grow, we need fresh air, clean water and cultivable soils to survive. All around the world thousands of sites have been contaminated by industrial use, former military sites, storage bases of oil products, landfills and other sources of pollution. A huge amount of contaminated sites have been identified and require clean up. European Environment Agency estimates that the number of recorded polluted sites across Europe alone is expected to increase by 50% by 2025.

 

The main consequences of soil contamination is degradation of soil and groundwater quality, impact on human health for people living on contaminated site, threat to surface water and groundwater quality and risk of ecotoxisity for the flora and fauna causing loss of biodiversity and biological activity.

 

It is important to distinguish and understand the difference between soil contamination and soil pollution. Soil contamination implies that the concentration of a substance (e.g. nutrient, pesticide, organic chemical, acidic or saline compound, trace element) in soil is higher that would naturally occur. Whereas in contract soil pollution implies that the substance is causing harm of some type.

 

The image on the right side shows the various types of pollution and contamination.

SORBENT-DEMO project bring to the soil remediation market for both contamination and pollution a cost-effective and highly efficient soil remediation technique applied in-situ to remove accidentally or intentionally deposited oil as well as historical oil contamination. This technique has already proved it’s applicability to all types of oil (including crude and heavy oil) in different soil profiles and convenient use in areas difficult to approach.

 

Of course there are other soil remediation technologies but generally are limited by insufficient effectiveness, expensiveness or long cleaning period. There is still strong push for more effective in short term and cheap technology for soil remediation.

 

Technologies itself include air spraying, soil vapour extraction, natural attenuation (in-situ), evacuation and landfill, thermal desorption, incineration, surface capping and containment (ex-situ) and bioremediation (both in- and ex-situ).

The advantages of the SORBENT technique

  • Due to immediate sorption activity and high sorption capacity it enables to lessen or localize spread of oil hydrocarbons in case of accidents, extreme situations or their liquidation, hence, can be effectively used in cases required immediate response;
  • Indifference for the nature of hydrocarbons (normal, branched, aromatic, etc.);
  • Applicable to a broad soil type and hydrocarbon concentration level;
  • Environmentally friendly soil remediation approach.

 

However, in some cases components of SORBENT technique can be used independently or in various combinations to solve the contamination problems depending on initial oil concentration, location, etc. In any case, SORBENT integrated technique allows reducing very high oil pollution concentrations to acceptable levels, in accordance to environmental standards.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 605607