Graphene applications company Sparc Technologies has passed another product test, this time for its environmental remediation technology for PFAS chemicals.

Product testing shows Sparc Technologies’ (ASX:SPN) graphene-based materials improve the absorption of poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) contaminants by up to 100 per cent compared to industry-standard granulated-activated carbon (GAC) products.

Man-made PFAS chemicals have been used in products such as fire retardants since the 1940s, but they can contaminate ground water sources and remain in the environment for some time.

“The results from this round of test work are very encouraging in that they confirm the use of our graphene enhanced absorbent, developed with our strategic partner the University of Adelaide, performs at a significantly higher level than products that are currently commercially available,” managing director Tom Spurling said.

The graphene-based technology has applications in cleaning up hazardous sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals such as military installations and industrial areas.

The US Department of Defense has identified 126 military bases containing potentially harmful levels of PFAS chemicals, the remediation cost of which is $US2bn ($2.6bn).

Investigations at Australian defence bases have found similar issues with PFAS chemicals.

Also, the US-based Environmental Working Group has found more than 110 million Americans have been exposed to PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

A common way of treating PFAS-contaminated sites is to use activated carbon to remove the chemicals from water but this comes at a significant cost.

Another treatment method is to use ion exchange or membrane technologies, but both have their drawbacks and limitations.

Sparc’s PARGO product twice as good as GAC industry standard

First-round test results demonstrated the company’s graphene product can be used to remediate water contaminated with several different PFAS chemicals such as perfluoro-octanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA).

Sparc Technologies’ graphene-based absorbent technology, polyamine modified reduced graphene oxide (PARGO) is twice as effective at absorbing PFAS as current industry standard GAC products.

“This enables us to move forward to the next stage and test the product in an industrial environment, as well as to scope the product’s economic viability,” said Spurling.

Sparc Technologies’ new graphene environmental tech passes tests
Absorption rates for Sparc’s PARGO product exceed that of industry standard GAC product. Image: company supplied

The next round of product testing will focus on the use of Sparc Technologies’ graphene products to remove PFAS contamination from different types of site.

“An exciting part of the next stage of our testing will involve an investigation as to whether our graphene membrane has the ability to effectively destroy PFAS as part of its application,” added Spurling.

Test data will be used for economic scoping study

Follow-up product testing for the PARGO product will concentrate on several aspects including re-usability, speed of extraction, efficiency of sorbents in immobilising PFAS, and the removal of PFAS from the absorbent and their destruction.

Data from the test work will be used to scope the economics of a graphene-based absorbent, at which point the company will look to engage an industry partner in its development on a commercial basis.

The company has recently achieved impressive testing results from its graphene coating for ship hulls in terms of adhesion and anti-corrosion.

Graphene is extracted from graphite and is a two-dimensional nano-material made of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern.

This gives graphene a unique combination of properties such as flexibility, hardness, resistance, and high thermal and electrical conductivity.


This article was developed in collaboration with Sparc Technologies, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.