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This SERDP and ESTCP webinar presents novel technologies to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from groundwater and to develop high-performing PFAS-free fire-fighting foams. Specifically, investigators will discuss the development and optimization of cyclodextrin-based adsorbents to remove PFAS from groundwater, and the optimization of compressed air foam (CAF) and ultra-high pressure (UHF) foam delivery systems to improve the quality of commercial, off-the-shelf PFAS-free foams that meet stringent military specifications.
“Novel Cyclodextrin-Based Adsorbents to Remove Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Water” by Dr. Damian Helbling (SERDP Project Webpage)
AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) formulations have been used for decades to suppress hydrocarbon fuel-based fires at Department of Defense facilities. PFAS are key constituents of AFFF, and PFAS occurrence in groundwater at many of DoD facilities has been widely reported. Developing cost-effective remediation strategies to remove PFAS from groundwater is challenging. As part of this SERDP-funded effort, we have developed a promising class of cyclodextrin-based adsorbents that can be rationally designed to target specific types of pollutants. This webinar will highlight the evolution of our cyclodextrin-based adsorbents and describe current advances in this emerging technology. We have optimized these adsorbents to obtain high affinity for a variety of PFAS including those with varying chain length, hydrophilic head groups and charge state. We have characterized the performance of these adsorbents in a variety of groundwater matrices and have benchmarked their performance against a variety of more conventional adsorbent materials. A startup company has been formed to manufacture and commercialize the most promising cyclodextrin-based adsorbents for implementation in groundwater remediation processes.
“Assessment, Optimization, and Demonstration of PFAS-Free AFFF alternatives against Military Specifications” by Dr. Satya Chauhan (ESTCP Project Webpage)
This ESTCP-funded project is aimed at experimentally determining where commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS), PFAS-free foam formulations fall short of stringent military specifications (MIL-PRF-24385F) and to determine if alternative PFAS-free foam-delivery firefighting technology and/or minor chemical modifications can improve their performance.
Although there are many PFAS-free COTS foams available, none have been shown to meet the Mil Spec, especially the performance specifications for fire extinguishment time. PFAS-containing foams (AFFF) are expected to be phased out beginning in October 2023, per the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Therefore, identifying workable foam replacements is critical. This project focuses on optimizing and demonstrating firefighting performance employing CAF and UHP foam-delivery systems. These commonly available firefighting engineering technologies have been shown to improve foam quality, which is expected to reduce the fire extinguishment time and increase the burnback time. The webinar will present initial test results which show promise towards meeting DoD goals of eliminating fluorinated compounds in fire suppressants for fighting Type-B (hydrocarbon) fires.
Dr. Damian Helbling is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University in New York. Dr. Helbling’s current research focuses on the occurrence and fate of organic chemicals in natural and engineered water systems. In particular, the goals of his work are to improve our understanding of the breadth of organic chemical contaminants that may occur in aquatic environments, evaluate the determinants of environmental persistence of organic chemical contaminants, and develop new remediation technologies for the removal of organic chemical contaminants from water. Dr. Helbling has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and master's and doctoral degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Satya Chauhan is a senior program director at the Battelle Memorial Institute, in Columbus, Ohio. He has over 40 years of experience in developing, demonstrating and commercializing green products, processes and energy. His work has also focused on pollution prevention in water and wastewater systems, with applications in aerospace, mining and minerals processing, food processing, surface finishing and chemical industries. Dr. Chauhan is currently leading efforts at Battelle to develop and demonstrate PFAS-free fire suppressants for aerospace applications, environmentally-friendly deicers, and alternative fuels with low greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Chauhan has over 200 publications, 26 US patents, and over 50 international patents. He is the recipient of the 2020 Battelle Inventor-of-the-Year award. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and an Master of Business Administration degree from Ohio State University.