We are proposing to obtain fundamental kinetic data on the destruction of hazardous model chemical compounds by oxidation in supercritical water. This work has already begun with identification of model components. Criteria important to the selection process include frequency of occurrence in ground water contamination incidents, degree of toxicity, and chemical structure and bonding characteristics (Are the model compounds good surrogates for more complex chemicals?) Wastes containing mixed solvents and inorganic salts are particularly important in pump-and- treat type remediation procedures. For example, the dominant chemicals found in the groundwater of the Aberjona Basin studies include trichloroethylene, benzene, and toluene with salts predominately of arsenic and chromium. Multiphase feeds involving organics and salts dissolved in water and absorbed to soil particles will also be characterized to select surrogates. these PIC compounds will be characterized by the core toxicology laboratory to determine mutagenicity and by the core analytical laboratory components to identify and separate the specific compounds involved. Our specific approach involves a coupled experimental and theoretical modeling effort to determine global kinetic expressions and to interpret mechanistic pathways. The effects of operating at off-design conditions on product distribution and destruction efficiency will be studied over a wide range of temperature, pressure and reactor residence times. Furthermore, the thermodynamic stability of reaction intermediates will also be studied in terms of their influence on reactor performance. The new kinetic data we obtain on the oxidation of model compounds in supercritical water will permit the evaluation of this process as a technology for remediation. For the first time, quantitative kinetic measurements will be conducted on mixed feeds under isothermal conditions and the thermodynamic stabilities of partial oxidation products will be examined in light of their potential influence on reactor performance. Solids (oxides and salts) and complex organic compounds have shown increased stability at supercritical temperatures by their effect on oxidation rates and final product distribution is not known.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
Zip Code
Senn, David B; Gawel, James E; Jay, Jennifer A et al. (2007) Long-term fate of a pulse arsenic input to a eutrophic lake. Environ Sci Technol 41:3062-8
Diez, Sergi; Noonan, Gregory O; MacFarlane, John K et al. (2007) Ferrous iron oxidation rates in the pycnocline of a permanently stratified lake. Chemosphere 66:1561-70
Risoul, Veronique; Richter, Henning; Lafleur, Arthur L et al. (2005) Effects of temperature and soil components on emissions from pyrolysis of pyrene-contaminated soil. J Hazard Mater 126:128-40
Coller, Hilary A; Khrapko, Konstantin; Herrero-Jimenez, Pablo et al. (2005) Clustering of mutant mitochondrial DNA copies suggests stem cells are common in human bronchial epithelium. Mutat Res 578:256-71
Pedersen, Daniel U; Durant, John L; Taghizadeh, Koli et al. (2005) Human cell mutagens in respirable airborne particles from the northeastern United States. 2. Quantification of mutagens and other organic compounds. Environ Sci Technol 39:9547-60
Durant, John L; Ivushkina, Tatiana; MacLaughlin, Kathy et al. (2004) Elevated levels of arsenic in the sediments of an urban pond: sources, distribution and water quality impacts. Water Res 38:2989-3000
Blute, Nicole Keon; Brabander, Daniel J; Hemond, Harold F et al. (2004) Arsenic sequestration by ferric iron plaque on cattail roots. Environ Sci Technol 38:6074-7
Pedersen, Daniel U; Durant, John L; Penman, Bruce W et al. (2004) Human-cell mutagens in respirable airborne particles in the northeastern United States. 1. Mutagenicity of fractionated samples. Environ Sci Technol 38:682-9
Southworth, Barbara A; Voelker, Bettina M (2003) Hydroxyl radical production via the photo-Fenton reaction in the presence of fulvic acid. Environ Sci Technol 37:1130-6
Tomita-Mitchell, Aoy; Ling, Losee Lucy; Glover, Curtis L et al. (2003) The mutational spectrum of the HPRT gene from human T cells in vivo shares a significant concordant set of hot spots with MNNG-treated human cells. Cancer Res 63:5793-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 80 publications