Home > CSIRO’s innovative soil contaminant detector launched in US

CSIRO’s innovative soil contaminant detector launched in US


A HANDHELD soil contamination detector developed by CSIRO and Ziltek has been launched to market in the US.

The device, named RemScan, uses an infrared signal to directly measure petroleum hydrocarbons in the soil, providing a result in around 20 seconds. Ziltek commercialised the device in Australia in 2012, and CSIRO holds the US patent for the RemScan method, which it has licensed exclusively to Ziltek for global distribution.

It can be used to quickly and cost-effectively characterise contaminated sites, to validate spill clean-up areas, or monitor ongoing contaminant degradation.

Traditionally, technicians had to send soil samples to a laboratory and wait days for results before they could close projects or declare sites contaminant free or contaminated. The on-site results provided by the Australian-developed technology have the potential to save the environmental remediation industry millions of dollars per year in laboratory and project costs globally.

RemScan is particularly valuable in remote areas where laboratory analysis is either not available or is prohibitively expensive. The technology is particularly useful for the quantitative measurement of diesel, oil and crude products in soil, but can also be used as a screening tool for lighter fuels such as jet fuel and gasoline.

CSIRO has significant expertise in advanced analytical methods to detect contaminants in soils, including new portable spectroscopic techniques for the rapid identification of a variety of soil properties. RemScan is one example of the commercial application of this expertise.

CSIRO is continuing to work with Ziltek to extend the technology to enable rapid detection of other soil contaminants, such as chlorinated and recalcitrant compounds.

Development of RemScan was supported through the HazWaste Fund (EPA Victoria), Bio Innovation SA and the Australian Government through Commercialisation Australia and Enterprise Connect.

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