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Adsorbent media for removing PFCs from wastewater
Published:  13 February, 2018

An adsorbent media that selectively captures and removes micropollutants such as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from wastewater has received a £1.24 million (US$1.72 million) grant to accelerate its pilot phase.

Customem, which is based at the Imperial College Innovation Hub in London, was founded in 2015 by Henrik Hagemann and Gabi Santosa. The company’s bio-adsorbent granular media (CGM) is optimised to capture and recycle certain challenging micropollutants using standard steel tank processing equipment. This offers significant cost savings over traditional methods such as anion-exchange media and granular activated carbon.

The grant will enable the company to scale up its industrial pilot trials and bring the product to market.

CGM is aimed at commercial airports, petrochemical plants, and military bases where aqueous film-forming foams containing PFCs are used. It can treat the wastewater from such sites as well as helping to deal with legacy contamination. The media can be chemically regenerated using a non-hazardous wash, which means captured waste can be disposed of safely or repurposed.

CGM is designed to drop into existing packed-bed infrastructure used in current activated carbon water treatment systems. This avoids the need to install expensive treatment processes and will augment water recycling and reclamation on local and industrial scales.  

‘We are already undertaking initial testing with a number of companies and organisations including two commercial European airports,’ said Customem’s Henrik Hagemann. ‘Following this EC grant we are now ready to upscale and are actively welcoming partners to trial our solution on-site.’

The grant is funded through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, part of the European Innovation Council, which provides funding and support for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create new markets or revolutionise existing ones.