Microwaves for Toxic Waste Treatment
IIT Research Institute in Chicago has developed a process which can
literally cook toxic waste right out of soil. The soil is heated to
temperatures as high as 350 degrees F.
Tests carried out at a Madison, Wisconsin Air Force base showed that
almost 99 percent of the jet fuel, chlorinated hydrocarbons and
waste oils in 30 tons of contaminated soil were successfully
Tubular electrodes are inserted to a depth of six feet in a waste
containment area or laid across the top of the area.
The soil is heated up when the electrodes are excited by radio-
frequency energy. The process is similar to the heating within a
microwave oven except that this process uses much lower frequencies.
During the cooking process, water and hazardous components contained
in the soil are rapidly evaporated. These vapors are collected and
condensed by being passed through a bed of activated charcoal which
is then removed from the site.
The system is said to be able to clean up a polluted site for one
third to one half the cost of current cleanup processes.