Sparc will soon get the opportunity to test the ability of its proprietary graphene products to adsorb PFAS under a memorandum of understanding with JBS&G.
The joint project involves the development of a pilot plant to model adsorption of PFAS – the name given to a set of chemicals compounds used to resist heat, oil, stains and water – from contaminated water via graphene filtration at a site where JBS&G is undertaking remediation works.
Success could be a key step forward towards commercialising the technology given that JBS&G is one of Australia’s leading environmental remediation companies.
PFAS covers a group of chemical compounds used in products to resist heat, oil, stains and water.
Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN) notes that many large sites around the world are subject to substantial PFAS contamination making it a significant global issue as these compounds will persist and migrate within the natural environment and can cause significant human and animal health issues.
Testing of functionalised graphene for the adsorption and immobilisation of PFAS in soil will also be undertaken as a separate project.
“Sparc is delighted to be working closely with JBS&G, which is a leading environmental remediation company with many PFAS remediation projects around Australia,” chief executive officer Mike Bartels said.
“It is very rewarding to now be transitioning from the laboratory to the field whereby we will look to further develop and optimise Sparc’s proprietary functionalised graphene adsorbent.
“Sparc sees this MOU as a significant milestone which sets us on the path to undertake feasibility work and to commercialise our products.”
PFAS are materials which remain in the environment long after use, and which could have significant effects on humans and animals over long periods of exposure.
Extensive studies have been carried out by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian Government into the environmental and health effects of the chemicals, particularly in bodies of water.
One report tabled by the US Department of Defence to the House Armed Services Committee in 2018 found at least 126 military installations contained potentially harmful PFAS levels with an estimated remediation cost of more than US$2 billion.
Australian research has found similar issues, given the use of PFAS in firefighting historically.
Meanwhile, a study by the US-based Environmental Working Group released in 2020 found PFAS in the drinking water of several major US cities, exposing an estimated 110 million Americans to the chemicals.
Recent testing has found that Sparc’s proprietary-modified reduced graphene oxide adsorbent performed significantly better compared with granulated activated carbon.
This is in line with earlier results, which demonstrates repeatability of the process methodology.
Earlier this month, the University of Adelaide-licenced technology was granted a US patent that grants Sparc exclusive access to graphene’s unique ability to act in a high performance and efficient porous matrix to remove heavy metal ions from liquid or gas.
The licence does not incur licencing fees as the university is also a major shareholder of the company.
This article was developed in collaboration with Sparc Technologies, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.