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NSERC Prizes 2018: Jason Gerhard

Western University
Savron Solutions


Video Name

NSERC Prizes 2018: Jason Gerhard


NSERC Communications



Release Date

May 1, 2018


Jason Gerhard is working with his partners at Savron, a division of Geosyntec Consultants International Inc., to apply their STAR technology to contaminated sites around the world. STAR uses smouldering to burn away contaminants. The result is a low-cost, low-energy, green solution that completely remediates sites once drenched in toxic waste. Since launching their collaboration, they have initiated more than 35 STAR projects around the world in locations such as the United States, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Kuwait, Brazil, and the Philippines, as well as here in Canada.

Jason Gerhard

Traditional barbecue with charcoal briquettes, when you start those briquettes glowing red, that’s the process of smouldering. And STAR is the first technology to commercialize, to take smouldering, and apply it for soil remediation. STAR works very much sort of like laser surgery. So you figure out where the specific contamination is on a site, and we basically inject hot air. Because the coal tar is the fuel, it will start to naturally smoulder, just like the charcoal in the barbecue. About 99% of all of all the contaminants are completely destroyed.

David Major

Just in North America, there’s hundreds of thousands of coal tar sites that need to be remediated. Everywhere there’s been oil, you’re going to have a contamination problem. And so it’s a vast, vast market.

Jason Gerhard

We are just researchers testing new ideas in a lab. We really need to partner with a company of engineers that work in the field every day. When Geosyntec came to visit us and we saw their enthusiasm right away, and there was a real synergy. There was a real connection.

David Major

We needed their ideas. There’s no way – we even didn’t have this on our radar screen.

Jason Gerhard

They really like to push the boundaries, and try interesting, new technologies and really try to be at the leading edge.

David Major

The partnership is amazing, that we’ve trained personnel out of it, we’re getting new ideas, expansion of our application of the technology.

Jason Gerhard

So many ideas from research never go anywhere, but to see one actually go from just a crazy idea over a cup of coffee all the way to cleaning up real sites is very rewarding.