SERDP FY 2024 New Start Projects

 Environmental Restoration (ER) Program Area

The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to develop an improved understanding of the transformation mechanisms, pathways, and kinetics of thermal destruction processes aimed at treatment of materials laden with PFAS. Specifically, the research areas of interest included:

  • Develop sample collection protocols and analytical methods to identify and quantify specific products (products of incomplete destructions [PIDs], byproducts) generated in thermal processes and support closure of fluorine mass balances. 
  • Experimentally determine the effects of process-relevant operating conditions such as temperature, residence time, PFAS structure, PFAS concentration, co-occurring chemicals of concern, and matrix composition on PFAS destruction mechanisms, mineralization rates, and formation of PIDs and byproducts.
  • Combination of experiments with theoretical and kinetic modeling to support mechanistic foundations for optimizing thermal decomposition of PFAS and minimizing PIDs and byproduct formation. 
  • Develop surrogate measurement parameters and analytical approaches (e.g., FTIR) for real-time assessment of PFAS destruction/mineralization efficiencies, as well as stack emission contents.
  • Assess PFAS destruction efficiencies in thermal processes at multiple scales.
  • Evaluate directly controlled parameters as well as indirectly controlled parameters on complete destruction of concentrated PFAS streams.

The projects listed below were selected to address the objectives of this SON. Additional information on individual projects can be found by clicking the project title.

  • Combining Experimental Measurements with Theoretical Insights for a Mechanistic and Predictive Understanding of PFAS Thermal Destruction
    • Lead Investigator: Eric Kennedy, The University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Investigating the Thermal Decomposition of PFAS in a Full-Scale Commercial Hazardous Waste Incinerator
    • Lead Investigator: Jens Blotevogel, CSIRO
  • Real-Time Analysis of Gas-Phase Products of Incomplete Destruction During the Thermal Treatment of PFAS
    • Lead Investigator: Kyle Doudrick, University of Notre Dame

Developing destruction technologies for improved management and treatment of PFAS-laden materials will help facilitate the establishment of more cost-effective and efficient remedial action plans that are protective of human health and the environment. Additionally, the knowledge developed will improve the reliability and environmental sustainability of thermal treatment processes and expedite the cleanup and closure of PFAS-impacted sites.