General Cleanup Technology

Technical, environmental and economical assessment of reactive wall systems

A tool for the comparative technical/economical and ecological evaluation of reactive walls (in a funnel-and-gate system) in relation to conventional pump-and-treat systems has been developed and applied. Documented procedures for the technological variants considered, namely, activated carbon reactors, iron reactors and combined activated carbon/iron reactors can be used as a basis for the evaluation of further reactor technologies. 


The objective of this project as part of the SAFIRA research program was to assess different reactor technologies for in-situ groundwater treatment by means of a funnel-and-gate system (FGS) with respect to their technological and economical feasibility as well as to their environmental impacts. The assessment has been done in comparison with the on-site use of these reactor technologies (pump-and-treat system, PTS).


  • In order to assess environmental impacts of the technologies, a comprehensive model for a life cycle analysis of funnel-and-gate and pump-and-treat systems has been developed. The assessment is based on seven impact categories.
  • In order to carry out a general as well as a site-specific economical assessment, cost functions that relate a sound description of the most relevant processes involved in the treatment process to the costs of individual technical elements of the technologies.
  • An integrated technical, economical and environmental assessment of the considered technologies as well as of individual parts has been done. Relevant parameters that influence the results of the assessment has been identified and evaluated by means of sensitivity analyses.
  • A thorough analysis of the performance of activated carbon reactors provides insight on how a cost-optimal dimension (lifetime) of the reactor can be determined depending on a set of relevant performance- and/or cost-driving parameters.
  • A numerical transport model for contaminant transport in zero-valent iron reactors accounting for the production of intermediate products has been developed and combined with a cost model.
  • The applications of the assessment tools show that due to the complex interrelationships of influencing parameters, assessment results may vary strongly with the basic conditions and parameters. There is no unique answer about the advantages and disadvantages of the different technologies. However, several basic relationships that are relevant to the comparative assessment of FGS and PTS have been determined.

Project Participants

Implementing Institution

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Institute for Geoscience

Cooperation partner

French-German Institute for Environmental Research (DFIU)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

More Project Informations

Project title:  Technical, environmental and economical assessment of reactive wall systems

Project number:  02WT0019

Project period:  2000 - 2003

Project region:  Germany (Baden-Württemberg)

Project contact:

Herr Prof. Teutsch

View Publication

Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)