Clarkson Professor Yang Receives NSF CAREER Award For PFAS Research

Yang Yang, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Clarkson University, is acknowledging the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award. plan. “The $550,000 funding he said will begin on May 1, 2023 and will run through 2028.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals that have been manufactured and used in numerous consumer products and industrial applications since the 1940s. PFAS is one of the most stable chemicals ever manufactured. Over the past two decades, the increasing detection of his PFAS in various environmental media has raised serious concerns about its persistence, stability, and adverse effects, including toxicity to organisms and humans. With the phasing out of his PFAS from consumer and industrial products, his obsolete stock of PFAS chemicals is becoming solid waste. In addition, large amounts of his PFAS solid waste are increasingly being produced. This includes spent granular activated carbon (GAC) and ion exchange (IX) media used to remove PFAS from wastewater sludge, contaminated soil, and contaminated drinking water sources. Thermal processes such as incineration and pyrolysis have now emerged as the most effective methods for treating and destroying solid waste containing his PFAS on an industrial and commercial scale. However, the heat treatment process for PFAS requires high temperatures (150-900 °C) and contains toxic intermediates and products of incomplete combustion (PIC) that require additional processing to mitigate releases to the environment. It often creates a gas stream.

The overarching goal of this CAREER project is to lay the foundation for the development and validation of a novel piezoelectric material (PZM) assisted ball milling (BM) process capable of processing and destroying PFAS solid waste at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. To advance this goal, Professor Yang investigated the activation of catalytic piezoelectric materials (PZMs) and PFAS chemical/solid waste mixtures using BM reactors to decompose PFAS into harmless inorganic products. We propose to search for high potentials that mineralize matter. The successful completion of this project will help society through the generation of new fundamental knowledge and the design and synthesis of reactive PZMs to advance the development of more effective and sustainable technologies for the treatment and destruction of PFAS solid waste. benefit the Additional benefits to society are achieved through student education and training, including the mentoring of one graduate student and one undergraduate student at Clarkson University.

Yang said: Thank you NSF and taxpayers for trusting my team. “

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