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Presentation Slides

This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research efforts to identify, compare, and ultimately approve alternative firefighting agents to aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). Specifically, the investigators will cover their progress in investigating PFAS destruction using Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) and their efforts to develop best practices and guidance for selecting AFFF alternatives and overcoming barriers to adopting these alternatives. 


“Supercritical Water Oxidation for Complete PFAS Destruction” by Dr. Marc Deshusses ( ESTCP Project ER20-5350

 This project supports the Department of Defense’s (DoD) efforts to promote the development of cost-effective technologies for the destructive treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in various matrices. Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) is a transformative treatment that utilizes the unique properties of water above its critical point (374 degrees Celsius and 218 atmospheres, or 705 degrees Fahrenheit and 3200 pounds per square inch). Under these conditions, and in the presence of oxygen, all organic molecules are rapidly oxidized to inorganic species, and recalcitrant organics are effectively treated. This presentation will cover project developments in investigating PFAS destruction using a continuous pilot SCWO system that can handle one ton of waste per day for treatability studies (e.g., for rinsates, landfill leachate, PFAS, spent sorbents, etc.) as well as a bench-scale SCWO apparatus for kinetic studies. In this webinar, the performance of SCWO and its costs for the destructive treatment of PFAS-impacted wastes will also be discussed.  


“Advancing Safer Alternatives to AFFF: Lessons Learned From a SERDP Funded-Initiative” by Dr. Joel Tickner ( SERDP Project WP19-1424) 

Concerted efforts are underway to develop safe and effective alternatives to AFFF. SERDP and ESTCP programs have funded several research and development projects to evaluate performance, lifecycle impacts, and health and safety implications of commercially available, non-fluorinated alternatives. Additionally, these projects advance efforts in developing novel greener chemistries used to produce non-fluorinated alternatives. Despite these efforts, DoD has no specific approach to evaluating AFFF alternatives which could result in ill-suited substitutions. This presentation will discuss efforts to help the DoD make informed choices on AFFF alternatives by strengthening and building consistency in the approaches used to identify, compare, and adopt alternatives. The goal is to create approaches that can be replicated for other high priority, yet mission critical, chemicals of concern. The presentation will also cover significant barriers the team identified in the adoption of AFFF alternatives, ranging from resistance and transition, to lack of national strategy and leadership. 


Speaker Biographies

Dr. Marc Deshusses is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. Prior to moving to this, he served as a faculty member at University of California, Riverside. Dr. Deshusses serves as the associate editor for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and is the director of Duke’s Energy Engineering Program. He is also the co-founder and head of technology of 374Water, a social impact, cleantech company dedicated to the commercialization of supercritical water oxidation. Dr. Deshusses’ research interests are in novel reactors and sustainable processes for air, water, and waste treatment. His research program has received funding from several organizations including ESTCP, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Gates Foundation. Dr. Deshusses received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and a doctoral degree in technical sciences with a major focus in environmental biotechnology, also from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. 


Dr. Joel Tickner is a professor of environmental health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he has worked to build interdisciplinary bridges across departments and colleges to position the university as a leading institution in the design and application of sustainable chemicals and materials. He is also the founding Executive Director of the Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment, a professional association dedicated to advancing the science, practice, and policy of alternatives assessment and informed substitution. He founded the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council, a powerful network of more than 120 companies, bringing together the entire value chain from chemical producers to major brands and retailers. Dr. Tickner is a leading researcher and strategist in making chemistry safer for people and the environment. He is an expert on environmental health, risk assessment, green chemistry, chemicals policy, and pollution prevention. Dr. Tickner earned his bachelor's degree in Spanish with a concentration in environmental science from Colby College. He received his master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana and his doctoral degree in work environment, cleaner production, and pollution from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

  • Above Ground Treatment,

  • AFFF,

  • Life Cycle Analysis,

  • LCA,