AtWaPlas – Treatment and recovery of PFC-contaminated water by means of atmospheric water plasma treatment

Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have contaminated groundwater and soils at numerous sites due to their widespread industrial use (e.g. as extinguishing and wetting agents). Conventional remediation methods are complex and costly. Therefore, the AtWaPlas project aims to develop a new process for eliminating PFCs from groundwater, seepage water and washwater based on atmospheric plasma treatment.

Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have entered the environment due to their wide industrial use (e.g. as extinguishing and wetting agents) and represent a particularly problematic group of pollutants due to their high persistence and toxicity. In NRW alone, 120 cases of large-scale groundwater and soil contamination caused by PFCs are currently known.

Remediation or securing of areas with extraction and purification of groundwater is at present very complex and costly because conventional purification processes and systems, e.g. with activated carbon filtering, have a very low effect with regard to PFCs. Landfilling of PFC-contaminated soils is hardly possible because landfills are at this stage unable to treat the PFC-contaminated seepage water which results from leaching and, accordingly, do not accept such soils or only do so for very high fees.

With an atmospheric plasma treatment we want to develop an innovative and effective process for the elimination of PFCs from groundwater, seepage water and wash water and thus provide a solution for remediation measures.

The highly mobile pollutant group of PFCs should not only be separated from the resource, rather eliminated as such. Due to this new demand on the remediation target, successful implementation can contribute significantly to the preservation and sustainable use of the valuable resources groundwater and soil as well as the absolutely necessary recycling of contaminated areas (reduction of areaconsumption).

Atmospheric water plasma on a laboratory scale.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Atmospheric water plasma on a laboratory scale.
Detail of a coaxial DBD reactor with water film.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Detail of a coaxial DBD reactor with water film.

Project information

Project title

AtWaPlas – Treatment and recovery of PFC-contaminated water by means of atmospheric water plasma treatment

 

Project duration

July 2021 – June 2023

 

Project partners

  • HYDR. O. Geologen und Ingenieure GbR, Aachen (Coordinator)

Funding

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the "AtWaPlas" project within the "KMU-innovativ: Ressourceneffizienz und Klimaschutz" funding measure, promotional reference 02WQ1601B, as part of the federal research program on water “Wasser: N”. Wasser: N contributes to the BMBF “Research for Sustainability’ (FONA) Strategy”.

Federal Ministry of Education and Research.