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SBIR Phase II:Optimized Hydrothermal Reactor for Scalable and Affordable Destruction of Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS)

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2232969
Agency Tracking Number: 2232969
Amount: $979,270.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: ET
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-552
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-05-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-04-30
Small Business Information
326 E D St.
Tacoma, WA 98421
United States
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Brian Pinkard
 (253) 310-5882
Business Contact
 Brian Pinkard
Phone: (253) 310-5882
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is the acceleration of a new technology for the destruction of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), otherwise known as “forever chemicals”. PFAS chemicals are widely used in firefighting foams and consumer goods. However, they are incredibly recalcitrant environmental pollutants, highly toxic to humans, and very hard to destroy. Widespread contamination of soil, groundwater, and drinking water at sites near airports, military bases, and manufacturing sites is driving a global effort to remove and destroy PFAS toxins. PFAS are poorly broken down by incineration and they do not have a natural half-life. The environmental remediation industry needs effective technology for on-site, end-of-life destruction of PFAS. The technology being developed in this SBIR Phase II project is energy efficient, scalable, pairs with existing technologies, and can be deployed at-scale for the destruction of PFAS-rich wastes. _x000D_
This SBIR Phase II project seeks to reduce technical risks related to system corrosion and chemical consumption in the development and scale-up of the hydrothermal alkaline treatment (HALT) process for the destruction of PFAS. Hydrothermal processing has historically been plagued by challenges with corrosion and low component lifetimes, and/or has requiring the use of expensive alloys, replaceable system components, and/or elegant chemical corrosion prevention strategies. This said, hydrothermal processes are some of the most effective and efficient technologies for destroying hazardous wastes, such as PFAS. This project will focus on measuring and mitigating the material corrosion challenges to enable more widespread adoption of hydrothermal processes for waste disposal. Additionally, HALT processing requires the use of alkaline chemicals as process additives. In this project, by adopting chemical recycling strategies, the use of chemicals may be drastically reduced, improving overall unit economics and reducing the environmental footprint of HALT processing._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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