The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of the Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge, which SERDP and ESTCP co-sponsored. This challenge sought proposals for non-thermal technologies and approaches to destroy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in concentrated aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) without producing any harmful byproducts. 

  • Dr. Brian Pinkard at Aquagga Inc. won the first-place prize of $40,000 for proposing the use of high-temperature and high-pressure water to dispose of PFAS-impacted waste onsite. This approach is potentially applicable for AFFF.
  • The second-place prize winners received $10,000 each for their innovative approaches. Dr. Denise Kay and Meng Wang at Ramboll Group and Dr. Cheng Gu at Nanjing University were awarded for their concept using ultraviolet light and non-toxic additives to destroy PFAS, and Dr. Sarah (Xiao) Wu at the University of Idaho won for her proposed continuous flow liquid-phase plasma discharge process to destroy PFAS in AFFF.

Challenge winners’ approaches will strengthen and advance efforts to remove PFAS from unused AFFF. Their proposals were required to destroy at least 99 percent of the PFAS in unused AFFF concentrates, including PFAS byproducts that may form by volatilization, particulates, and leaching from effluents. To learn more about the challenge and the winners’ proposals, visit the EPA’s Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge webpage

Over the past decade, SERDP and ESTCP have funded research and demonstration efforts aimed at improving understanding of occurrence, fate and transport, remedial treatment options, and ecotoxicity at AFFF-impacted sites. Projects are also advancing the development of next generation PFAS-free foams. For more information about our continuing efforts to treat PFAS-impacted sites, visit the SERDP and ESTCP PFAS initiative webpage