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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

  Development of a Photothermal Detoxification Unit Project Summary
August 1995

There has long been interest in utilizing photochemical methods for destroying hazardous organic materials. Unfortunately, the direct application of classic, low temperature photochemical processes to hazardous waste detoxification is often too slow to be practical for wide spread use. Furthermore, low-temperature photochemical processes often fail to completely convert the targeted wastes to mineral products which are either harmless to the environment or easily scrubbed from the system effluent. Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) have developed a unique photothermal process that overcomes many of problems. Specifically, it has been found that there are numerous advantages to conducting photochemical detoxification at relatively high temperatures. Under the conditions of simultaneous exposure to heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation the rate of destructive photothermal reactions can be greatly increased with complete mineralization of the waste feed. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that at the elevated temperatures used in this process the efficiency of UV radiation absorption also increases resulting in an overall improvement in process efficiency.These features (i.e., fast, efficient, and complete destruction of organic wastes) make this a promising technique for destroying hazardous organic wastes in the gas-phase. The authors present the theoretical foundation for the photothermal detoxification process along with a summary of the results from a bench-scale flow reactor system. The basic design, capital cost and operating cost for a full-scale flow reactor system using currently available industrial illumination equipment is also presented.

This Project Summary was developed by the EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH, to announce key findings of the SITE Emerging Technology that is fully documented in a separate report of the same title (see Project Report ordering information at back).

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Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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