Economical Technologies for the Detection and Remediation of Water Contaminated with Perflourinated Substances

Project Summary

This project developed cost-effective technologies for sensing and removal of perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) from water.

Project Outcomes

The team has developed a simple sensor for monitoring PFAS. There is potential to use this as a robust and portable smart-phone interface. This research was published in a peer-reviewed journal (Analytical Methods, 2019, 163-170), and led by team members Cheng Feng, Youhong Tang and collaborators.

Team members Chalker, Hayball, Sweetman and Plush developed new sorbents to remove PFAS from water. The sorbent features a unique polymer and carbon blend made from waste and/or sustainable feedstocks. This sorbent was validated on field samples of water contaminated with PFAS and the sorbent was also integrated into a mobile and modular filtration unit. This technology is subject to a provisional patent.

Hayball, Chalker, Sweetman and Plush used these pilot studies to prepare and submit a proposal to the Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiative on PFAS. The proposal was successful in securing $497,638 from the ARC. The primary aims are an expansion of the current DIP project and will focus on up-scaling polymer production for larger-scale field tests and product development with the industry partners Puratap and Membrane Systems Australia. Additionally, the project also details much needed methods to regenerate the sorbents and convert the PFAS into innocuous substances.

The publication of this research has resulted in substantial interest from industry. Several remediation firms, airline industry, and consulting firms have reached out to discuss potential projects.

May 2018
Project secures DIP Funding
June 2018
DIP Project commences
June 2019
DIP project complete
September 2019
Project team led by Professor John Hayball secures funding from the ARC Special Research Initiative on PFAS, building on the results and collaborations in the DIP project. Dr Cheng Fang, DIP project team member from the University of Newcastle, also secures funding for a separate project from the ARC SRI.
  • Scientist pouring a soil sample into a beaker

    24 September 2019

    UniSA media release

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    07 June 2019

    Australian Defence Magazine

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  • Two scientists inspecting a sample outdoors

    03 June 2019

    American Chemical Society (ACS) Publication

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    The Advertiser

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