Supervisor: Professor Andrew Whittaker and Dr Cheng Zhang

Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals which can travel long distances through soil and water and do not break down in the environment. Their highly persistent nature and demonstrated high affinity for biological membranes have raised wide concern for their potential to damage human health. The development of new technologies for the removal of PFAS from the environment is urgently needed to safeguard public and environmental health. In recent years, a number of technologies including active carbons (granulated and powdered), anionic exchange resins and foam fractionation have been actively proposed for the treatment of PFAS. However, despite some landmark successes, the translation of these technologies into commercial use has been limited by the following key problems: 1) limited removal efficiency and selectivity due to the competitive sorption of other contaminants; 2) difficulties in regeneration to allow reuse; 3) low effectiveness in the removal of the short-chain PFAS. Together with the industry partners, the City of Gold Coast and Chemours, the project will introduce a highly novel and commercially-viable approach by developing regenerable fluorinated ion-exchange resins with exceptionally high efficiency and scalability for PFAS removal.