STAR has significant potential for the remediation of organic contaminants due to a number of key properties of the process: (1) STAR requires only a short duration energy input (i.e., ignition) at a single location to initiate the reaction; (2) STAR is then self-sustaining, such that the reaction propagates itself through the organic liquids without additional energy input, (3) STAR is self-targeting, such that the reaction naturally tracks through the subsurface zones occupied by organic liquids, (4) STAR is self-terminating, such that the reaction naturally ceases when no organic contaminants remains, and (5) STAR avoids injecting costly fluids or conveying organic contamniants or contaminated groundwater to the surface for treatment. Further benefits include
(6) STAR can be applied in situ or ex situ, (7) STAR is most effective for the most recalcitrant compounds such as coal tars, heavy oils, and petroleum hydrocarbons (as they are the most exothermic), (8) very rapid clean-up is possible (destructive front propagating on the order of 1 m per day), (9) unlike many techniques, STAR works better as the contaminant concentration increases (more fuel for the reaction), and (10) essentially non-detect total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) are observed in post-treatment soils.
Several Lab and Pilot Tests at controlled scale were performed before scaling up to a field trial. These tests involved column, drum, and dumpster scale tests, as shown in the figures below.