Soil Heating with Radio Waves

Radio-wave heating is utilized to support a number of remediation techniques such as microbial degradation of pollutants, soil vapor extraction, and thermally initiated reactive immobilization in the soil matrix. Due to the high flexibility with respect to the accessible final temperatures, heating rates and heatable materials, and due to the fact that heat is created directly in the specified volume, this method represents a unique tool for the optimization of soil decontamination.

Special options such as the synergetic application of electrical fields of different frequencies allow adapting the radio-wave method to various requirements occurring in practice, e.g. the remediation at the transition between saturated and unsaturated zones in the soil. For a flexible application of thermally-enhanced soil remediation, a container-based modular system is now available containing the main components required for RW soil heating: HF generator and matching network, cooler and tools for fiber-optical temperature measurement and soil vapor analysis. The equipment was successfully tested at the technical-plant scale, confirming the results obtained in the laboratory and semi-technical scale experiments.

Two container systems are currently used in field trials by our industrial project partner, Ecologia Environmental Solutions Ltd. ( link ), Sittingbourne, U.K. Our British partner has already twice won the reknown Brownfield Briefing Award  with this technology.

Soil heating with radio waves  photos: UFZ