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New Device Destroys Forever Chemicals

For decades, companies have added PFAS (an acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to firefighting foams, food packaging, carpets and fabrics, water-repellent clothing, and non-stick pans. In recent times, PFAS have become known as 'forever chemicals'

because there has been no way of getting rid of them. Until now.

The Aquagga PFAS destroying device in Fairbanks, Alaska
The Aquagga team deployed their PFAS destroying device to Fairbanks, Alaska, this summer and were treated to Northern Lights | Credit: Aquagga

While the chemicals are great at deflecting water, stains, and grease, they often escape from products and contaminate drinking water, and they’re also notoriously difficult to break down. If left untreated, PFAS-contaminated water could remain hazardous for thousands of years. No wonder researchers and regulators are increasingly concerned by their serious health impacts.

But the good news is that a startup called Aquagga has successfully deployed a PFAS destruction unit on a trial in Alaska. It would be fair to expect the destroyer of toxic “forever chemicals” to be a massive, intimidating device. In which case it’s either disappointing or delightful to discover that Aquagga's device is nicknamed “Eleanor” and is housed inside a modest 10-feet-long by 8-feet-wide shipping container.

The company’s solution solves a lot of common issues with eliminating PFAS: It’s more compact than other systems, requires a lower temperature, can run continuously, and can destroy some of the more stubborn PFAS.

“The PFAS problem has been a unique one,” Nigel Sharp, Aquagga CEO, told GeekWire. For those working to clean up the pollution, “the tools they’ve had available to them the last 20 to 30 years, nothing works on PFAS.”

Through this innovative technology, companies like Aquagga can slash the lifespan of forever chemicals like PFAS, removing toxic substances from water - making it safe for consumption again.


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