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TerraTherm History

The opportunity to form TerraTherm as we know it today came in 2000 when a division of Royal Dutch Shell donated a cutting edge technology to the University of Texas at Austin, which in turn licensed it to TerraTherm’s co-founders, thus making the launch of TerraTherm possible. Since that time, TerraTherm has broadened its capabilities, developed and patented new methods, added numerous partners, proven the applicability of thermal remediation, and completed numerous successful projects worldwide.

Here are some milestones:

  • Late 1980s/early 1990s: Shell Exploration and Production (Shell E&P), a division of Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) develops the TerraTherm In Situ Thermal Desorption (ISTD) technology out of its efforts to enhance oil recovery.
  • 1994: Shell E&P recognizes the technology’s potential to clean up contaminated soil.
  • 1994 to 1998: Shell Technology Ventures, Inc. (STVI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell E&P that held the ISTD patents, and TerraTherm Environmental Services Inc., a STVI spin-off conduct seven ISTD demonstrations and projects.
  • 1999-2000: Shell exits the remediation business and donates the ISTD rights within the U.S. to the University of Texas at Austin (UT).
  • 2000: Ralph Baker, Ph.D. and John Bierschenk, P.G. secure the exclusive license to commercialize ISTD within the United States from UT.
  • 2000: Baker and Bierschenk co-found TerraTherm, LLC, assuming the roles of CEO and President, respectively.
  • 2000: Jim Galligan, P.E. joins the company as lead engineer. TerraTherm opens offices in Fitchburg, MA and equipment facilities in Houston, TX.
  • 2000: American Drilling partners with TerraTherm to pilot direct-push installation of ISTD heater cans.
  • 2001: TerraTherm, LLC completes first round of funding and converts to a subchapter C corporation, TerraTherm, Inc.
  • 2002: TerraTherm secures the exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize ISTD outside the U.S. from Shell. Partnership with SheGoTec Japan, Inc. established.
  • 2004: TerraTherm achieves an ISTD milestone with the successful completion of its first Chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds (CVOC) project, a confidential site in the Midwest US.
  • 2004: ISTR industry leader Dr. Gorm Heron joins TerraTherm.
  • 2005: TerraTherm achieves another ISTD milestone with the successful completion of its first Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) project, treating Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and coal tar.
  • 2005: Successful completion of a fast turnaround Brownfield cleanup of CVOCs for the City of Richmond, CA.
  • 2006: Successful completion of the pioneering Southern California Edison-Alhambra, CA ISTD project, achieving a No Further Action letter from the State of California after successful treatment of PAHs and dioxins in soil.
  • 2006: Partnerships forged with Krüger A/S in Denmark and Sweden, and with AIGE in the UK.
  • 2006: TerraTherm moves to 30,000 ft2 (2,800 m2) facilities in Montachusett Industrial Park, Fitchburg, MA.
  • 2007: TerraTherm secures a license to practice Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE) from the Univ. of California Berkeley. TerraTherm begins its first SEE project at a Confidential site in PA.
  • 2007: Successful completion of the first ISTD project remediating DNAPL in fractured rock, at a Confidential site in the Southeast US.
  • 2008: TerraTherm utilizes ISTD to successfully treat 49,950 cy (38,000 m3) of CVOC-contaminated soil for the U.S. Air Force at Memphis Depot, TN. The project is awarded the Secretary of Defense Award for Environmental Restoration in 2009.
  • 2008: Successful completion of first ISTD-SEE combination at an active dry cleaning facility in Odense, Denmark.
  • 2009: TerraTherm is awarded the Gold Medal award for Business Achievement in the Remediation Contracting category by the Environmental Business Journal, published by EBI.
  • 2009: TerraTherm’s cumulative ISTD royalty payments to UT (since 2000) exceed $1M.
  • 2009: TerraTherm is awarded an ESTCP-funded study (combined laboratory and field demonstration) of ISTD for the removal of CVOCs from sedimentary fractured bedrock.  Research partners include: U.S. Navy, U.S. Geological Survey, and Queens University.  TerraTherm conducted its field demonstration at the Naval Air Warfare Center site, W. Trenton, NJ.
  • 2010: TerraTherm celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • 2010: The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York presented their Empire Award (best project in New York State) and a Diamond Award to the Midler Avenue project, Syracuse, NY.
  • 2010: TerraTherm authors or co-authors a dozen presentations at the Seventh International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, Monterey, California.
  • 2010: The company receives a gold medal from EBI for outstanding achievement in environmental remediation. 
  • 2011: TerraTherm reports that nearly 60 sites worldwide have been treated with ISTD. 
  • 2011: The Zweig Letter names TerraTherm to its 2011 Hot Firm List of fastest growing firms in the A/E/P and design-build industry sector.  TerraTherm was named No. 1 in the design/build category and No. 13 overall out of the 176 total firms honored.
  • 2011: TerraTherm completes its first ERH project at Groveland Wells Superfund Site, Groveland, MA.
  • 2011: TerraTherm promoted Mark Kresge to the newly created position of Vice President of Information and Management Systems.
  • 2012: TerraTherm authors or co-authors 11 presentations at the Eighth International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, Monterey, California.
  • 2012: TerraTherm moves to larger, 67,000 ft2 (6,200 m2) facility at Summit Industrial Park in Gardner, MA.
  • 2012: TerraTherm is awarded a contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to design an In-Pile Thermal Desorption® (IPTD®) remediation for treatment of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment at Danang Airport, Vietnam.
  • 2012: Two financial executives join TerraTherm, David Allworth as Chief Financial Officer, and Scott M. Elliot as Controller.
  • 2012: TerraTherm’s cumulative royalty payments to UT (since 2000) exceed $2M.
  • 2013: TerraTherm initiates and co-sponsors “Advances in Thermal Remediation” conference at the University of Texas, Austin, keynoted by academic and industry leaders.
  • 2013: TerraTherm patents efficient, cost-effective method for in-pile thermal remediation of organic contaminants, dioxins and PCBs, for small- and moderate-scale sites (U.S. Patent Nos. 8,355,623 and 8,562,252).
  • 2013: TerraTherm completes a 3-acre (1.3 ha) Brownfield site in Teterboro, NJ, the largest ISTD project to date, treating 122,300 cy (93,690 m3) of CVOC-contaminated soil.
  • 2013: TerraTherm is awarded a $37M contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to construct and operate an IPTD® system to treat 95,000 cy (73,000 m3) of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment at Danang Airport, Vietnam.
  • 2013: TerraTherm ISTD projects appeared on the covers of two issues of the prestigious Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation Journal (Spring and Summer editions), featuring the Reerslev, Denmark and Richmond, California, respectively.
  • 2013: The Zweig Letter once again named TerraTherm to its Hot Firm List.
  • 2014: TerraTherm presents a workshop and authors or co-authors 11 presentations at the Ninth International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, Monterey, California.
  • 2014: TerraTherm completes construction and begins operation of a major ISTD system at the Solvent Recovery Services of New England (SRSNE) Superfund Site in Southington, CT.  The project is treating an area of 1.7 acres (0.7 ha), with a total soil volume of 47,000 cy (36,000 m3).
  • 2014: TerraTherm constructs an SEE project at former Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, AZ.  This is the largest thermal remediation project in the world (409,000 yd3 [313,000 m3], 250 ft [76 m] deep), for treatment of jet fuel (LNAPL).
  • 2014: ZweigWhite honored TerraTherm with a 2014 ZweigWhite Best Firms to Work For Award.  TerraTherm placed 5th in the Environmental category and 33rd overall in the top 100 of all firms in the architecture, engineering, planning and environmental industries.
  • 2014: Seven field projects underway, plus five in design.
  • 2015: TerraTherm aquired by Cascade Environmental.
  • 2016: TerraTherm aquires Electrical Resistance Heating (ERH) pioneer, Current Environmental Solutions (CES), and become first thermal practioner to offer the three most commonly accepted ISTR technologies, in-house.
  • 2017: TerraTherm aquires another ERH industry leader, Global Remediation Solutions (GRS).
  • 2018: Cascade introduces new brand, Cascade Thermal, for United States-based thermal remediation projects. TerraTherm brand retained for continued service to the international market.


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