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Clarkson University Professor’s New Technology Making Strides in Treatment of PFAS

Clarkson University Professor’s New Technology Making Strides in Treatment of PFAS

Michelle Crimi, Chair For The Director Of Engineeering and management, poses in the lab, Wednesday, November 14, 2018. (CU Photo by Steve Jacobs)

Potsdam, NY (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Thanks in part to the Shipley Center for Innovation, Clarkson University Director of Engineering and Management Michelle Crimi has recently been awarded funding to continue the development of a product that helps remove polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from groundwater.

Crimi said that she began looking to commercialize her technology in 2018, and Clarkson’s Shipley Center was instrumental in starting that process.

“We would not have started anywhere without that initial support from Shipley. That’s what really got us started,” Crimi said. “We are moving forward, there’s a lot of interest in what we are doing.”

PFAS are contaminants found in groundwater and other water sources and come from an array of products, including firefighting foams and industrial sources.

Crimi and Fiona Laramay, a PhD candidate at Clarkson, have developed a treatment reactor that, when installed in a horizontal well underground, passively captures water and uses sound waves to cause cavitation in the water to destroy PFAS.

The big advantage of the design of Crimi’s solution is that the water does not need to be pumped above the ground, which can help save up to 40 percent in annual operating costs compared to other common treatment approaches.

Having started a business to commercialize their product, Crimi and Laramay are eligible for more funding from a wider range of sources, including most recently a $100,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovative Research program. Crimi said she has recently received funding from Nexus New York and a Fuzehub commercialization competition as well.

Crimi said a similar product, the HRX Well(R), which is a horizontal well packed with reactive media to treat contaminated groundwater, was recently developed by Arcadis, an innovative design company for natural and built assets with whom Crimi collaborates, and that design recently received the National Ground Water Association Technology Award. Crimi has been working closely with Arcadis Vice President Craig Divine on a project team that has held demonstrations for their design.

Crimi credits the Shipley Center for helping further the development of her PFAS solution. Shipley Center’s Associate Director Ashley Sweeney said helping commercialize such a product is at the core of Shipley’s goals.

“Offering support to help develop a product that solves such an important issue nationwide, while using new technology, is exactly what the Shipley Center is in existence to do,” Sweeney said. “It’s exciting to see people at Clarkson making a difference, and we want to help foster that change whenever we can.”