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How to (Accidentally) Destroy a Forever Compound

November 4, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

| $25.00

Speaker: Michael Wong, PhD, Professor and Department Chair, Rice University
Moderator: Craig Benson, PhD, PE, NAE, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been detected in landfill gas and leachate due to their widespread applications in commercial, industrial, and household products, including surfactants, firefighting foams, and even drinking straws. In this Science Session, Dr. Michael Wong with Rice University will share how boron nitride and ultraviolet light can be combined to degrade PFAS compounds.

Recently published research by Rice University showed that the boron nitride/ultraviolet light approach may be effective with a wide variety of PFAS compounds.  Recent efforts suggest that the treatment strategy is also effective with short-chain PFAS compounds, which have been identified as predominant in leachate, and that half-life of PFAS compounds may be able to be shortened to an unprecedented 6 minutes at room temperature.


Michael S Wong

Michael Wong, PhD
Dr. Michael S. Wong is Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. He holds the Tina and Sunit Patel Chair in Molecular Nanotechnology. He is the principal investigator of the Catalysis and Nanomaterials Laboratory which tackles technical energy and sustainability issues through chemical engineering and materials chemistry approaches. He is Research Thrust Leader and member of the Leadership Team in the NSF-funded NEWT (Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment) Engineering Research Center. His research team has generated 160+publications, 20+ pending/issued patents, 300+ presentations, and 1 startup company over the years. His Google scholar h-index is 58, and total citations are >12K. He has received numerous honors over the years, including the MIT TR35 Young Innovator Award, the North American Catalysis Society/Southwest Catalysis Society Excellence in Applied Catalysis Award, the Southwest Region ACS Award, and American Chemical Society Fellow.


Craig Benson

Craig Benson, PhD, PE, NAE
Craig Benson is former Dean of Engineering at the University of Virginia and Wisconsin Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an international authority on landfills and waste containment systems. His expertise includes municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, coal combustion residuals, mining and mineral processing wastes, low-level radioactive waste, mixed radioactive waste, uranium mill tailings, and bauxite residuals. Benson was co-Principal Investigator on USEPA’s Alternative Cover Assessment Program (ACAP) and authored the USEPA guidance on water balance covers (aka ET covers). Benson is a Professional Engineer and member of the National Academy of Engineering.


November 4, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT


EREF Education Program
(919) 861-6876