ISCO3: In-situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) by Passive Dissolution of Ozone Gas Using Gas-Permeable Membranes for Remediation of Petroleum-Contaminated Groundwater

Groundwater is the main source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation in many countries. It is continuously exposed to various anthropogenic pollutants such as nitrate, arsenic, pesticides, and other chemical micropollutants of emerging concern. One option to treat polluted groundwater is to inject an oxidant into the saturated subsurface (in-situ). Typical oxidants for in-situ groundwater remediation are oxygen, permanganate, peroxide and occasionally ozone. The injection can occur either by pumping a liquid solution into an aquifer, or by sparging a gas into a well.

The German-Israeli research project ISCO3 aims to improve the removal of persistent and highly toxic monocyclic hydrocarbons (BTEX) using ozone gas (O3). A novel gas-permeable membrane will be used to deliver ozone into a polluted cross section.

Additional objectives of the project include:

  • Identification of membrane materials, which are most suitable and effective for ozone delivery via literature-based and experimental assessments

  • Fundamental characterization of membrane-based ozone mass transfer to groundwater

  • Investigation of the effect of soil parameters and water quality on ozone transport in the saturated subsurface

  • Determination of removal efficiencies for indicator pollutants

  • Improvement of treatment through addition of peroxide (O3/H2O2 AOP)

  • Detection of oxidation transformation products and assessment of their biodegradability in groundwater ecosystems

  • Large-scale tests for proof of concept
Project leader Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg E. Drewes
Dr.-Ing. Uwe Hübner
Researcher Emil Bein, M. Sc.
Funding Bundesministerium für Forschung und Bildung (BMBF)




  • Bein, Emil; Zucker, Ines; Drewes, Jörg E.; Hübner, Uwe: Ozone membrane contactors for water and wastewater treatment: A critical review on materials selection, mass transfer and process design. Chemical Engineering Journal 413, 2021, 127393 more…


  • Karakurt-Fischer, Sema; Sanz-Prat, Alicia; Greskowiak, Janek; Ergh, Martin; Gerdes, Heiko; Massmann, Gudrun; Ederer, Jürgen; Regnery, Julia; Hübner, Uwe; Drewes, Jörg E.: Developing a novel biofiltration treatment system by coupling high-rate infiltration trench technology with a plug-flow porous-media bioreactor. Science of The Total Environment 722, 2020, 137890 more…