PFAS polluted soil to clean ceramic materials

The toxic PFAS chemicals in our soil

PFAS is a group of so-called “forever chemicals” widely used since the 1950s. After years of extensive use these chemicals are now found all around the world in soil, water, wildlife and even people. Last year, when PFAS was put on the political agenda of the Netherlands, and shut down the complete building sector due to its widespread presence. PFAS consists of a very strong chemical bond (C-F), making them resistant to natural degradation while threatening human health and the environment.

Ceramics as the solution

This project offeres a solution. By heating the PFAS contaminated clay soil up to high temperatures, the chemicals are destroyed while creating a clean ceramic material. This material can be shaped in countless ways. For example into tiles, vases, toilet bowls or bricks. Especially bricks are interesting since they are produced in bulk and can be used in buildings as a local material.

Bricks as the product

Contaminated soils originating from Barendrecht, Waddinxveen and PFAS hotspot Schiphol were heated up to 900-1200 degrees, turning the soils into bricks. The outcomes reveal bricks in a variety of naturals hues, and all that remains of its dirty past is the stamp that states the location of origin and amount of PFAS removed. Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to build on polluted sites by cleaning it? This idea is being further developed and investigated.