Presented on May 2, 2024 | Presentation Slides


“Chemical-Free Light-driven Destruction of PFAS Using Non-Toxic Boron Nitride” by Dr. Mike Wong (ER22-3258)

The persistence, prevalence, bioaccumulativeness, and toxicity of PFAS requires an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to manage and treat its presence in the environment. Photocatalysis is seeing renewed attention due to the development of novel semiconductor materials. This presentation will describe the latest in UV photocatalysis research and development with boron nitride (BN), a commercially available and nontoxic material, with scalable PFAS decomposition capabilities.

“Treatment of PFAS and Co-Occurring Chemicals in Source Areas by Smoldering Combustion” by Dr. David Major (ER22-7470 and ER23-8373)

Smoldering is a combustion process that occurs on the surface of a condensed (i.e., solid or liquid‐phase) fuel, converting organic material into primarily heat, carbon dioxide, and water. Commercially available smoldering remediation technologies normally rely on the chemicals themselves to be the fuel that supports the combustion process above and below the water table or in above-ground treatment systems. Although PFAS can be present at significant concentrations relative to cleanup criteria, they are often still too low in concentration to support smoldering. Work conducted under SERDP has shown that adding a surrogate fuel, such as granular activated carbon at low concentrations, can support smoldering and generate high temperatures that can decompose PFAS. This presentation will describe the development of a fuel mixture that can be delivered and distributed through source areas to allows the in situ treatment of PFAS.

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Michael Wong is Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. He holds the Tina and Sunit Patel Chair in Molecular Nanotechnology. He is the principal investigator of the Catalysis and Nanomaterials Laboratory, and research thrust leader in the Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Engineering Research Center headquartered at Rice. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the American Chemical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). He is the recipient of the 2023 Lawrence K. Cecil Award, the highest environmental honor in chemical engineering. Dr. Wong received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a master’s degree in chemical engineering practice from MIT, and a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Caltech.

Dr. David Major is a Senior Consultant at Geosyntec/Savron in Cambridge, Ontario. David has developed and commercialized various remediation technologies in conjunction with universities in Canada, the United Kingson and the U.S. He has served as a principal/co-investigator or project manager for over 10 SERDP/ESTCP projects, and was awarded the SERDP 2021 Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration for his work on the smoldering treatment of PFAS. David served on the U.S. EPA Expert Panel on DNAPL Remediation (The DNAPL Remediation Challenge: Is There a Case for Source Depletion?) and the U.S. National Research Council Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium. He has received several awards, including the University of Waterloo Faculty of Science Alumni of Honour Award (2007) in recognition of his professional accomplishments; the Space Hall of Fame® (2007) for helping NASA commercialize “Products from Space Benefiting Planet Earth”; ASTM C.A. Hogentogler Award (2015); and ICE Telford Premium (2016) awards for papers on ground improvement technology. Dr. Major has led programs that were recognized for national excellence in sustained and innovative academic-industrial collaboration with the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada Synergy Award 2009 and 2018. He received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in biology from the University of Waterloo.