Plasma-Enhancement of Absorbers for Improved Removal of PFOS and PFOA from Water

EPA Contract Number: 68HERC20C0009
Title: Plasma-Enhancement of Absorbers for Improved Removal of PFOS and PFOA from Water
Investigators: Bailey, Charles
Small Business: AAPlasma, LLC
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: November 1, 2019 through October 31, 2021
Project Amount: $299,992
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2019) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Drinking Water Treatment and Monitoring


New regulations and advisory levels for perfluoroalkyl substances have resulted in increased drinking water treatment costs or abandonment of drinking water sources. Treatment technologies are needed that can achieve low parts-per- trillion levels. Presently, there are insufficient treatment technologies that can destructively remove perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and/or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).

AAPlasma is developing a novel 2-stage process using a non-thermal plasma treatment to regenerate activated carbon in the first stage, with an optional amination second stage that improves the activated carbon’s ability to remove contaminants from water. The system discussed throughout this proposal has been validated by a successful Phase I period of performance and offers water filtration technology that can be reused following plasma reactivation of the carbon and requires a relatively small amount of electricity to operate.

Advantages of our system exist in significant reduction of capital/operational expenses and reduced environmental impact. AAPlasma, with the support of Drexel University’s Nyheim Plasma Institute, will use this SBIR funding opportunity to develop a demonstrative pilot-scale prototype of this technology and optimize it to remedy the shortcomings in existing water filtration technology in the removal of PFOA/PFOS from drinking water.

Phase I efforts have already demonstrated a promising proof of concept system that yielded assuring results of industrial practicality. In Phase II of this SBIR project, AAPlasma will work with supporting industry partners to (1) define system specifications that satisfies the industry needs, (2) construct a pilot-scale prototype system, (3) optimize the pilot system to maximize commercial feasibility, and (4) field test the system at a carbon reactivation site with the support of Jacobi Carbons. Phase II of this SBIR project will conclude with the execution of the commercialization option period of performance, before collaborating with our industry partners on segueing into Phase III commercialization efforts supported by private investments.


SBIR Phase I:

Plasma-Enhancement of Absorbers for Improved Removal of PFOS and PFOA from Water  | Final Report