Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of synthetic organic chemicals of high stability that have been widely detected in the environment and in drinking water, and their bioaccumulation in the human body have been related with adverse health effects. These chemicals have been detected by the Illinois EPA, and cost-effective mitigation alternatives are the focus of current research. Carbon-based material, e.g., granular activated carbon (GAC), is the current most practical sorbent material to sequestrate PFAS compounds found in water. After its use, however,the PFAS-laden GAC is commonly either landfilled or incinerated, where the adsorbed PFAS will likely be released via landfill leachate or by volatile compounds. In this work we propose an alternative method to destroy the PFAS contained in GAC, other sorbents or solid waste, using an optimized ball milling technique with novel piezoelectric catalysts. The use of the piezoelectric catalysts as co-milling agents vastly enhances the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing the cost and energy consumption. This mechanism will be a fast and energy-efficient alternative to achieve nearly 100% destruction of PFAS without the need of solvents, heat, and the release of toxic by-products. A student will be trained in the development and optimization of this mechanism, and the results will be used to respond to other calls for proposals relating to PFAS treatment by State, Federal, and private organizations.
- PI: Andres Prada
- PI Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024