Unique, On-Site Destruction of Transformer Askarels Using a Low-Temperature, Mild Chemical Method

EPA Contract Number: 68D30112
Title: Unique, On-Site Destruction of Transformer Askarels Using a Low-Temperature, Mild Chemical Method
Investigators: Webber, Ian
Small Business: Veritay Technology Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1993 through March 1, 1994
Project Amount: $49,999
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1993) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


There is a great need for a safe, energy-efficient, on-site method for decontaminating various chemical toxins. Nearly all (i.e., 99.8%) of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in current applications are used as dielectic fluid. This amounts to about 30,000,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated fluid. To reduce this exposure risk the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the accelerated phaseout of PCB transformers. Presently, there is no cost-effective method for providing on-site decontamination of PCB- contaminated fluids; nor is there a mild chemical method for their ultimate disposal.

A novel PCB dechlorination method has been identified, which has potential utility for the detoxification of transformer PCB fluids that presently represent a significant health hazard. Initially investigated at the University of Louisville and evaluated by the proposed Principal Investigator, the hydrogenated method, which uses an expensive noble metal catalyst but operates at room temperature, has been shown to achieve virtually complete dehalogenation in minutes. By systematically evaluating different catalysts, solvents, and processes, Veritay Technology, Inc., proposes to find and demonstrate a commercially feasible, mobile PCB treatment protocol based on the chemical dechlorination of concentrated PCBs. The approach offers numerous advantages including the avoidance of extreme conditions such as high temperature, which, in the case of partial pyrolysis, leads to the increased production of dioxins and dibenzofurans.

Supplemental Keywords:

Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Chemistry, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Hazardous, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Market mechanisms, Economics & Decision Making, PCBs, energy efficiency, innovative technology, pollution prevention, cost effective, innovative technologies, disposal

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final