Systems and Methods for Degrading PFAS


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widely used, hard-to-break-down chemicals that are harmful to human health; they contaminate water, soil, animals, and people all over the world. PFAS removal from the environment is thus very challenging, and effective PFAS remediation is so urgently needed that the U.S. government recently launched a plan to combat PFAS pollution. Right now, PFAS remediation efforts are mainly focused on containment at the source of use, but that does not solve issues with PFAS that are already in the environment. Emerging efforts of destructive PFAS removal have been unsuccessful to date because of high cost, high energy requirements, low efficacy, and toxic byproducts. New technologies are therefore required for the destruction of PFAS without the generation of hazardous byproducts.

Technology Overview

This systems and methods allow PFAS to be degraded to low toxicity compounds under ambient conditions at low energy cost, low capital expense, high efficiency, and without the need for chemical reactants. Electrocatalysis is used to break down perfluoroalkyl using a metal-based catalyst. The methods actively destroy PFAS dissolved in water and allow fluoride released from the PFAS to be mineralized in a non-toxic form.


The discovery that PFAS can be degraded while the PFAS is present in an aqueous solution is particularly advantageous as the invention allows the removal of PFAS that has contaminated groundwater or surface water, such as those around manufacturing sites in which PFAS was applied to products, or around airports or military facilities in which PFAS-containing firefighting foam has been released.


Environmental remediation

URV Reference Number: 2-22051
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
McKenna Geiger
Licensing Manager
University of Rochester
Astrid Mueller
Madeleine Wilsey
Soraya Ngarnim