Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are highly persistent chemicals that have been used extensively in a range of common household products and industrial applications, including non-stick cookware and fire-fighting foams. Unfortunately, the properties that make PFAS so effective in many applications also make them toxic to the environment and human health. The development of new technologies for the removal of PFAS from contaminated water sources is urgently needed to safeguard public and environmental health. In this presentation, I will introduce a new, reusable UQFSorb technology for efficient, continuous removal of PFAS from a variety of different water sources. The new technology will enable significant improvements over conventional removal methods, such as granulated activated carbons (GAC) and ion-exchange sorbents (IEX). At the end of my talk, I will also introduce our recent innovation in UQFCycl for the utility and possible destruction of recycled PFAS chemicals from UQFSorb.

Dr Cheng Zhang is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the AIBN, UQ where he leads a research team in fluoropolymer research. He obtained his PhD degree in 2016 in Biomedical Engineering under supervision of Professor Andrew K. Whittaker. From 2016 to 2018, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Whittaker group to develop advanced imaging agents. In 2019, he was awarded an NHMRC Fellowship and relocated to UCSB working with Professor Craig J. Hawker on block copolymer chromatography separation and self-assembly projects. His research focuses on the development of advanced polymerization, purification and characterization techniques to prepare well-defined functional polymers with precisely-tailored properties for important applications from PFAS remediation, energy materials e.g. solid electrolytes to functional biomaterials e.g. imaging and therapeutic agents. He has published over 70 journal articles, including Nature Materials, Chemical Reviews, Journal of the American Chemical Society, ACS Nano, Macromolecules and etc. As CIA, he has successfully secured a number of competitive research grants (>$2 million), regularly receives invitations to speak at national/international conferences (>30 to date), and has received numerous awards, including most recently Queensland Fresh Scientist, ACS Materials AU Rising Star, and UQ Industry Engagement Award.

C.Z. acknowledges the funding support from the National Health and Medical Research Council (CJ Martin Fellowship) and Australian Research Council (DECRA Fellowship). The industry and funding partners, Chemours Company, City of Gold Coast, Lyndra Therapeutics, and US Army DEVCOM are also acknowledged.