Surfactants have been used since the 1920’s to mobilize oil that is trapped in subsurface formations. The bi-polar structure of surfactants enables them to modifiy the surface tension between the hydrocarbon molecule and water so that oil can be mobilized and brought to the surface. The physics of NAPL mobilization and emulsification are now being applied in a wide range of oil industry applications, from tank cleaning/degassing, to spill clean-up, to equipment decontamination, to soil remediation. The details of NAPL mobilization and emulsification will be explained, and a case study will be presented in which BioSolve Pinkwater, a specialty surfactant formulation, was successfully used in an in-situ soil remediation, bringing over 1,000 gallons of weathered gasoline from the subsurface after thirty years of efforts to remediate thought excavation and dual phased extraction.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
James B. Edgerly
Managing Director
The BioSolve Company
Lexington, Massachusetts

Karl D. Loos, The BioSolve Company