Transforming toxic PFAS polluted clay soil into clean bricks.
THE PROBLEM- PFAS is a toxic group of “forever chemicals” that have widely been used since the 1950s. Due to industrial activity and wrongful waste-management PFAS is now found all around the globe in soil, water, wildlife and people. PFAS threatens both human health and the environment. Due to bio accumulation and PFAS’ resistance to natural degradation, it is a growing problem for us ánd future generations.
THE SITUATION- In 2019 PFAS was put on the political agenda of the Netherlands and immediately shut down the complete building sector. PFAS was found all over the country and led to a nationwide building ban. Without cleaning methods available, this health crisis quickly turned into a building crisis. The most difficult type of polluted soil is clay. Due to its high density, clay holds a lot of PFAS resulting in huge mountains of toxic waste that ‘need’ to be disposed.
THE SOLUTION- This project offers the solution to clean up PFAS. By heating the polluted (clay) soil up to 900C the chemicals are destroyed while creating a clean ceramic material. This material can take many shapes like tableware, (roof)tiles or bricks. Especially bricks are interesting since they are produced in bulk and can be used as a local building material. As proof of concept, three polluted clay soils where successfully transformed into clean bricks and all that remains of its dirty past is the stamp that states the location of origin and amount of PFAS removed. The project has a patent pending.