PFAS Treatment Technologies

$50,000 USD

Challenge overview


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s and are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. A key characteristic of PFAS chemicals are the carbon-fluoride bonds which are extremely difficult to break. Hence, the Seeker is interested in finding an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for PFAS removal as part of the water treatment process.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.



PFAS is often referred to as a “forever chemical” since it does not break down in nature or with traditional destruction techniques. PFAS have been reported in public and private drinking water systems, wastewater treatment systems, and groundwater. Since the chemical is a suspected carcinogen in humans, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and many states have health advisory levels for certain PFAS in drinking water. The US EPA plans to propose maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for certain PFAS. There are already drinking water treatment systems and groundwater remediation systems treating PFAS. If MCLs are established, there will be many water and remediation systems throughout the country that will need to add PFAS treatment. A few technologies are capable of sequestering and separating PFAS from water, however, these procedures are expensive. Therefore, this represents an emerging opportunity and the Seeker would like to identify a more effective and efficient approach to be applied to water treatment and environmental remediation activities.

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker. However, the Seeker will be willing to consider a licensing agreement for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on March 17, 2023. 

Late submissions will not be considered.



  • The Seeker may award a total prize pool of $50,000. The minimum full award amount is $30,000. Partial awards may be considered for solutions that meet some, but not all, of the criteria. The Seeker will allocate higher individual award amounts for solutions that remove and destroy PFAS compounds.
  • Depending on the results of this Challenge and the availability of funds, winning Solver(s) may be invited to another competition to reduce their solution(s) to practice. Solvers should state whether they have the interest and ability to participate in a subsequent development phase.



Founded in 1913, Stanley Consultants is an industry-leading, member-owned engineering firm with a rich history of helping clients across the globe solve complex challenges ranging from energy and transportation to water and industry. We’re committed to forging long-term relationships with clients, and have a passion for creative, innovative problem solving. Our culture puts People First, and our members are our company. Discover more about our approach, what we believe in and what sets Stanley Consultants apart from the competition.


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What is a Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge?

A Wazoku Crowd Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge, meaning that Solvers must transfer all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

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