Hydro-QuŽbec, the Canadian electric utility, has signed an agreement with Georgia Tech to jointly develop a process using plasma torch technology for the remediation of contaminated soil and buried wastes, the Quebec Trade Office announced Aug. 6.

      This is a worldwide problem that is expected to reach crisis proportions in the near future, Louise Fortin, international marketing manager of the trade office, told GlobalFax.

      Plasma torches use electricity to create a form of artificial lightning with temperatures exceeding 7,000 degrees centigrade, a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun, she explained.  At these temperatures hazardous and toxic materials are destroyed, collected as gases for treatment or immobilized in a rock-like residue.

      AndrŽ Caille, president and CEO of Hydro-QuŽbec, Jilda Garton, director of the Georgia Tech Research Corp. and Charles Liotta, Georgia Tech’s vice provost-research, signed the agreement.

      Mr. Caille was first briefed about the process in May, when he accompanied Lucien Bouchard, the premier of QuŽbec to a trade mission to Atlanta.   

For more information call Ms. Fortin at (770) 980-0262, fax to (770) 980-9531 or e-mail Atlanta@QuebecTrade.qc.ca