The team responsible for the development of the enhanced contact electrical discharge plasma reactor, a novel method for degrading poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Professors Selma Mededovic Thagard and Thomas Holsen with Nicholas Multari and Chase Nau-Hix (shaved head), pose in the CAMP lab, October 6, 2017.

Clarkson Professors Receive SBIR Grant to Further Develop Innovative Technology to Improve Groundwater Clean Up

Thomas Holsen, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Selma Mededovic, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Clarkson University’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering, who started the business DMAX Plasma, LLC., have received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the EPA. The grant will go toward further development of their plasma reactor, which helps eliminate Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a family of highly toxic substances. 

The manufacture and disposal of PFAS containing substances has resulted in contamination of numerous water sources. There are a wide range of products containing PFAS: microwave popcorn bags, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant carpets and rugs, non-stick cookware, firefighting foams, ski wax, and many others. Holsen and Mededovic have developed the technology to reduce PFAS concentrations below regulatory limits within 1 minute of treatment at 1 gallon

per minute flowrate. These removal rates are significantly better than the current leading treatments and with lower costs. With the grant, Holsen and Mededovic are improving the plasma-generating network and are working towards clearing the final hurdles towards a commercially viable reactor. 

Holsen and Mededovic would both like to thank the IGNITE Pilot Grant Program Competition for their support. They were awarded a grant for their proposal during the March 2018 competition. 

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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