Thermal Regeneration Technologies for Granular Activated Carbons Laden with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Grant Award Year: 
2020-2021
Onur Apul
Research Description: 
Poly- and per-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances are considered to be one of the most consequential environmental contaminant classes in recent history. They have been identified in 17 water sources in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts serving more than 250,000 residents. Considering the high population density and prominent industrial activity, PFAS is also anticipated to have an impact on other Northeastern U.S. regions. The PFAS contamination mostly originates from direct field application in fire training or response sites and from breaches in landfill containment. Given the thermodynamic limitation for breaking the exceptionally stable C-F bonds and limited research on costly catalysts and/or processes to achieve PFAS degradation, conservative remediation technologies are required to prompt mitigation of impacted water sources. Carbon-based adsorbents are successful in remediating source waters impacted by PFAS; however, rapid depletion of adsorption capacity increases the cost of operation. Furthermore, spent adsorbents create a PFAS laden side waste stream. In this project, we will test granular activated carbon adsorbents for PFAS remediation and their subsequent thermal regeneration under pertinent conditions considering the environmental levels and the practical operation of the remediation technologies.