Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

New clean-up technology trialled

Industrial sites could be cleaned up at half the cost of current methods

A radical new approach to decontaminating industrial land invented by Edinburgh scientists is now being trialled in America and Canada.

It burns away pollutants such as oil and petrochemicals from the ground, but leaves the original clean soil behind.

The Edinburgh University developers believe it could work on 95% of contaminated sites.

It costs half as much and takes a fraction of the time of current methods.

The self-sustaining treatment for active remediation (Star) method safely removes toxic chemicals left behind in soil and groundwater.

It uses a controlled combustion reaction, with the process developed to stop once the contaminants are removed.

Dr Jose Torero, of the University of Edinburgh's school of engineering, said: "Star is able to overcome barriers that hinder many current clean-up operations, and promises to be particularly cost effective."

Edinburgh University is working with American company Geosyntec Consultants to commercialise the technology.

Dr David Major, environmental scientist at Geosyntec, said: "We see Star technology as a real 'game-changer' for certain types of sites.

"We are committed to making this technology available worldwide and especially to establishing a Scottish operation to serve the European marketplace."

Scottish Enterprise's proof of concept programme funded the project.

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