By: Kim Smith
Image courtesy of Unsplash
374Water is a US-based company that focuses on sustainable waste management. On their website, they state that their mission is to “preserve a clean and healthy environment that sustains life.” Recently, their most notable and newsworthy product is their AirSCWO. The AirSCWO uses supercritical water oxidation in order to dispose of perfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a sustainable manner. This method is not only relatively new, but also extremely effective.
Supercritical water oxidation is a method to dispose of PFAS that is powered by both water and air. The water in this method is heated above its critical point, which is 374° C, and the air has a highly effective oxidation reaction, which allows it to completely eliminate organic compounds. Through this reaction, not only is energy produced, but also safe products that have the ability to be recovered and reused, helping the environment. Supercritical water oxidation has the potential to treat a wide range of organic waste. Specifically though, it treats liquid waste such as sludges, agricultural waste, and chemical waste that contains PFAS (which is what 374Water’s AirSCWO focuses on).
Perfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, abbreviated to PFAS, are long-lasting chemicals in which their components break down extremely slowly over time. Due to their widespread use as well as longevity in the environment, PFAS are found in many places, such as people and animal’s blood in addition to the environment, water, air, fish, soil, and low levels in food products both in the nation and around the world. Studies have shown that there is a link between PFAS and harmful health effects in both humans and animals. Yet, due to the fact that there are thousands of PFAS chemicals in existence, it makes it hard to study the full human, animal, and environmental impacts and effects of them. Though, 374Water is helping eliminate PFAS through their AirSCWO.
374Water’s AirSCWO uses supercritical water oxidation in order to dispose of PFAS in a super efficient manner. This product is extremely efficient over other disposal methods in elimination efficiency, the life cycle costs, its compact footprint, energy efficiency, and clean and green technology. So far, 374Water has produced three generations of the AirSCWO, each more effective and efficient than the last. Currently, the third generation product is leading in energy efficiency, fouling control, throughput capacity, corrosion control, and range of feedback. Companies like 374Water are leading the way in new and innovative technology that not only help the environment, but both human and animal health. With the implementation of this product and others like it, the gradual elimination of PFAS from the environment can start.