Sustainable Cycles for PFAS Enabled by Electrochemistry

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetically produced industrial chemicals that exist in a variety of chemical compounds. The carbon-fluorine bond is one of the strongest chemical bonds. These plastics have unique physical and chemical properties and are chemically inert, water repellent, fire-, temperature- and weather-resistant. As a result, well-known halogen compounds such as PTFE or PVC have become a permanent part of modern applications. However, these properties also mean that they are difficult to degrade both during use and in the environment. If they continue to be released, they can accumulate in the environment, in drinking water and in food. Current recycling processes are technically complex and not very effective. Where possible, halogenated compounds are only recovered from the flue gases. This destroys the structure of the carbon skeleton. The Halocycles project is developing a new method to recover halogens. An electrochemical process is employed offering  a completely new perspective while avoiding the usage of thermal energy. The halogen atoms are reduced by the electric current. In this way, halide anions are formed in which the carbon structure is retained and these are therefore available as a source of raw materials for various chemical processes. This process is designed in such a way that surplus electricity can be used and at the same time contribute to stabilising the power grid.

Recycled halogen polymers are analyzed in detail to determine the material properties and to transfer them into a more resource-efficient circular economy. The project is funded by Carl Zeiss Foundation and supported by several industrial and academic partners.

The main goal of the project is to describe the prop-erties of the recycled halogen polymers in detail. For this purpose, extensive analyzes are carried out in order to gain a profound understanding of the ma-terial properties. These findings serve as a basis for effectively integrating the recycled halogen poly-mers into the circular economy.


Angelika Streich

Scientific Staff Material Cycles


The project “HaloCycles – Sustainable Cycles for PFAS Enabled by Electrochemistry” is funded by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung.