Superfund Research Program

March 2021

Bluegrass Advanced Materials flocculants
The novel smart flocculants, left, rapidly form insoluble solid aggregates of particles compared to no flocculants, center, and conventional flocculants, right. (Image courtesy of Bluegrass Advanced Materials)

SRP-funded small business Bluegrass Advanced Materials developed smart temperature responsive copolymer flocculants to remove persistent water-soluble contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), from water. The technology separates solids and liquids by forming flocs, larger aggregations of particles that can more easily be removed from water.

Technology Smart temperature-responsive copolymer flocculants to remove persistent contaminants, such as PFAS. The technology physically removes contaminants through a chemical reaction that separates solids from liquids by creating flocs.
Innovation PFAS molecules are captured by the dissolved smart polymer flocculant at ambient temperature and then collected into an insoluble solid pellet above the transition temperature of polymer. These smart polymers can be adapted to have affinity for a variety of contaminants through different modifications to the copolymers. The novel smart copolymers work quickly, producing flocs within minutes rather than hours. They also require lower transition temperatures resulting in decreased energy demands, and produce denser flocs than other smart flocculants.
Contaminant and Media Persistent water-soluble contaminants, including PFAS in drinking water, groundwater, and wastewater systems. Target cleanup levels are designed to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. For example, for PFOA and PFOS, less than 70 parts per trillion in drinking water.
Technology Readiness Level TRL 4 - Validation in laboratory environment
Principal Investigator Angela M. Gutierrez
Institution Bluegrass Advanced Materials, LLC
Grant Number R43ES032380