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Water at its supercritical conditions (T>374 °C and P>218 atm) has exceptional properties that are ideal for zero-discharge complete-oxidation process. The supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) process is an ideal process that can be used to detoxify poisonous materials as well as contaminated articles, parts, and soils. The rationale is based on the following:
(1) SCWO is effectively applicable to all chemical and biological sources and origins. Terrors involving chemical and biological means can take a variety of forms of unlimited kinds and variations. As far as chemicals are concerned, they can vary from very hazardous like nerve gas, mustard gas, or phosgene, to mild like household paint thinners or concrete cleaners. As for biological toxins, millions of different kinds and strains including anthrax can render both short- and long-term threats. They often can be unclassifiable, blended, or secondarily formed. Even though threats posed by each chemical and biological toxic material differ based on the types, amounts, and application modes, the supercritical water oxidation process decisively works for all of these chemical and biological materials, even in mixed forms. The final SCWO products are completely combusted nontoxic materials such as H2O, CO2, and salts such as chloride, nitrate, and phosphate.
(3) The process works for both toxic chemicals and contaminated articles. Unlike most other chemical processes, this process works for both toxic chemicals (and microorganisms) and contaminated articles. This process can be very effectively used for decontamination of soil, including anthracis-contaminated soil.
(4) The process is energy efficient. The reaction involved in the SCWO process is exothermic in nature. The thermal energy needed to maintain the reaction conditions is partly provided by this exothermic heat.
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