Scrubbing Toxic Soil with Sound Waves

A young scientist in Sydney has developed a way to clean up polluted soil with sound waves. Andrea Sosa Pintos, a researcher at CSIRO Industrial Physics has developed a new method that she claims can break down into harmless elements some of the most nefarious industrial products and. As power stations, chemical factories, and mineral extractors release contaminants in the complex matrix of the soil, remediating these pollutants (like PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) has been a longstanding problem. Even bioremediation, an environmentally friendly method that puts microorganisms to work eating pollutants such as petroleum waste, can be time consuming. Using ultrasound can process soil quickly and can be assembled into a mobile unit that could fit into the back of a truck. Pintos’ project is a finalist in the Fresh Science competition. CSIRO, Australia’s lead scientific body, has been something of a hotbed for eco-oriented advances, including a suitcase-sized, solar-powered hydrogen factory, and a biomimetic compound based on the springy substance in fleas’ knees. :: New Scientist via Hugg

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