The Capital Region of Denmark is freezing soil in order to remediate it

Inspired by the Ice Age, a small group of geologists have made headway, revolutionising the way we remediate soil.
Soil from the Ice Age, refrigeration technology from tunnel construction, and a bunch of geologists with a curious streak. These are the ingredients of a good idea looking to change the method in which we clean contaminated soil.

Today, old contamination in the Capital Region of Denmark represents the greatest threat to the groundwater we all drink. Work to remediate the soil is slow, difficult and not least expensive in terms of energy. This new method, which is called freeze fracturing, has the potential for ensuring quicker, less expensive and more environmentally precise remediation.

By means of the refrigeration technologies applied in connection with e.g. tunnel construction, sending cleaning agents into contaminated soil will become much easier. So far the tests have been tremendously positive, and a genuine breakthrough is just around the corner.
"We're extremely pleased that the tests have been successful. Unfortunately, the process of cleaning contaminated soil is expensive as well as slow; therefore we need to constantly look for new, better and less expensive methods to solve the problem", said Lars Gaardhøj (Danish Social Democrats), chairman of the Committee for the Environment and Green Growth in the Capital Region of Denmark.

A natural solution

This new method is inspired by the Ice Age, where temperature conditions created rifts in the tight moraine clay, which are now seen everywhere in the Capital Region of Denmark. The rifts are essential to clean the soil, as they work as arterial roads for the agents which clean the soil. This new method creates the rifts quickly and less expensively, making subsequent soil remediation much easier. This new method will potentially reduce time consumption, costs and the environmental impacts associated with remediating contaminated soil. The idea is new and can be spread throughout the world in places, which have the same type of soil, e.g. the rest of Northern Europe and the USA.
"This is a good example of what we can do in the Capital Region of Denmark. Together with GEUS, we have developed an idea, which in the future can be used to remediate regional soil, but which can also be sold abroad. It is important that the Capital Region of Denmark continues to take the lead in innovation and research. Nationally as well as internationally," said Lars Gaardhøj (Danish Social Democrats).


  • The new method is called freeze fracturing.
  • Moraine clay is a specific type of soil, which is common in the Capital Region of Denmark.
  • GEUS is short for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
  • The freeze fracturing project started in 2011 and is expected to finish with completion of the pilot test in the field by 2014/2015.
  • This project is being financed by the Capital Region of Denmark and the technology development pool of the Danish EPA.
  • The Capital Region of Denmark spends approx. DKK 140 mill. a year on identifying, surveying and remediating contaminated soil. Of this amount, two-thirds is spent on remediation and associated activities alone.

Further information:

  • Lars Gaardhøj (Danish Social Democrats), chairman of the Committee for the Environment and Green Growth, mobile phone: +45 28 92 25 98
  • Other members of the Committee for the Environment and Green Growth:
    • Lise Rask (Danish Social Democrats), mobile phone: +45 26 74 73 07
    • Abbas Razvi (Danish Social-Liberal Party), mobile phone: +45 26 89 94 82
    • Ole Søbæk (Conservative People's Party), mobile phone: +45 51 15 50 01
    • Ellen Thrane (Socialist People’s Party), mobile phone: +45 26 27 83 29
    • Henrik Thorup (Danish People's Party), telephone: +45 39 76 04 89
    • Bent Larsen (Denmark's Liberal Party), mobile phone: +45 25 35 24 24
    • Per Roswall (Denmark's Liberal Party), telephone: +45 48 31 89 87
    • Susanne Langer (Red-Green Alliance), mobile phone: +45 24 64 73 11
  • Mads Terkelsen, geologist, Corporate Management, Environment, Capital Region of Denmark, telephone: +45 38 66 56 15
  • Public Relations in the Capital Region of Denmark, telephone: +45 70 20 95 88
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