Sorbent for Removal of Perfluorinated Compounds From Water

Technology #ua13-072

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James Field
Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Maria Sierra Alvarez
Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Managed By
Robert Sleeper
Licensing Manager (520) 626-4604


This technology consist of a sorbent that effectively removes perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from water. The sorbent is a combination of two hydrophobic cationic polymers with structural modifications to enhance electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions with perfluorinated compounds. The polymers have the ability to remove PFCs in two ways: through ion exchange and hydrophobic interactions. The sorbent’s ability to remove negatively charged and hydrophobic perfluorinated compounds optimize their filtration effectiveness.


Current methods of perfluorinated compounds are not as effective and there is a great need to develop a treatment approach that will remove PFCs to a level low enough to meet EPA standards. In 2009, the EPA published that only values of 0.4 µg/L for PFOA and 0.2 µg/L for PFOS are acceptable in drinking water. The decreased standard raises a need for better perfluorocarbon water filtration technology. The current treatment uses two filtration principles: hydrophobic interactions and ion exchange. The hydrophobic cationic polymers, PANI and PPy, will be used but structural modifications will be performed to enhance electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions with PFCs. The exact process of modifications to the polymers is not disclosed.


  • The sorbent is expected to have lower cost than existing sorbents.
  • Effectively removes perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from water.


  • Home water filters
  • Companies that manufacture and produce beverages/food
  • City water treatment plant filters as part of a permeable reactive barrier or flow-through column
  • Ground soil by injecting polymer precursors into ground


Robert Sleeper

Licensing Manager, Tech Launch Arizona

O: 520-626-4604