Battelle Showcases Pilot to Destroy PFAS
Independent nonprofit organization Battelle Memorial Institute, which focuses on advancing sciences and technology, recently launched a weeklong pilot demonstration for its total solution for the removal and destruction of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
According to the company, the Battelle PFAS Annihilator Mobile Unit, a closed-loop, onsite destruction solution powered by supercritical water oxidation (SCWO), was used at a wastewater treatment facility operated by Heritage-Crystal Clean in western Michigan.
“PFAS disposal is a challenge for many of our customers,” said Brian Recatto, President and CEO of Heritage-Crystal Clean. “When I first read about Battelle’s PFAS Annihilator, I immediately connected with Battelle to discuss a pilot deployment at one of our facilities. PFAS contamination is an incredibly complex, multi-generational problem that needs to be addressed for the health and safety of our communities.”
To breakdown the complex chemicals, Battelle’s PFAS Annihilator pumps contaminated wastewater into a system where it is mixed with hydrogen peroxide, isopropanol as a co-fuel and sodium hydroxide as a neutralizing agent. Afterwards, the substance passes through a heat exchanger where a furnace removes the salts.
Next, the remaining water goes into a reactor at a temperature and pressure designed to break the carbon-fluorine bond. The resulting output is carbon dioxide and hydrofluoric acid which is neutralized with sodium hydroxide that turns it into inert salts and thus, eliminates any remaining harmful byproducts.
“The same properties that make PFAS so useful also make them very difficult to remove from the environment and our bodies, as they resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water and are temperature resistant and reduce friction,” said Amy Dindal, Battelle PFAS Program Manager.
“There are more than 5,000 different versions of PFAS, making every contamination different. This new technology will do incredible things for addressing PFAS water contamination.”
In trials of more than 30 PFAS-contaminated sample types, the PFAS Annihilator consistently demonstrated more than 99.99% destruction of total PFAS, according to reports.
“In this pilot we saw the Battelle PFAS Annihilator demonstrate the ability to reduce total PFAS in landfill leachate to single digit concentrations with no adverse byproducts in the treated water,” added Dindal.
“We’ve successfully demonstrated this technology can be brought to a facility that processes waste materials, set-up in a few hours and destroy PFAS chemicals in the presence of other co-contaminants. We are invigorated in our intent to bring this game-changing technology to scale and expand it to meet the growing need around the country.”
The company adds that the next iteration of the PFAS Annihilator Mobile Unit— currently under construction—is being modified to have an increased capacity for wastewater intake and treatment. In addition, the Battelle team is working to automate the process so units can operate without manual intervention, thus bringing the technology to scale to clean industrial size containers of wastewater.