The ultimate goal of the effort is to identify a PFAS-free aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) alternative that can meet all the environmental requirements while maintaining equivalent firefighting capabilities of MILSPEC foams (MIL-F-24385F) to ensure the safety of DoD personnel at airfields and onboard ships. The specific objective of this project is to quantify the capabilities of the “state-of-the-art” fluorine-free foams and agents in use today (on both a laboratory scale and during typical use scenarios) and to initiate the development of a database for potential alternatives.
The main technical questions that will be answered during this program are:
- What are the firefighting capabilities of commercially available PFAS-free foams/agents?
- Are there potential environmental issues associated with these foams/agents?
- Are any of them suitable replacements for the foams (AFFF) currently in use by DoD?
This program will provide an “apples to apples” comparison of the capabilities of the foams currently used by the DoD (AFFFs) and the commercially available PFAS-free alternatives. The capabilities will be assessed against a range of representative conditions/scenarios as well as on a laboratory/approval type scale. The data will quantify the capabilities of the various alternatives during typical use type scenarios. This data will then be linked to the smaller laboratory/approval scale tests which will be used to modify the current approval test protocol or, to develop a new approval test protocol for environmentally friendly alternatives (if currently available foams can provide adequate capabilities and/or similar capabilities as AFFF).
This project provides a systematic approach for quantifying the capabilities and limitations of available environmentally friendly AFFF alternatives. The results of the program provide the baseline for future comparisons and serve as the genesis of a database for future reference. With this as the objective, the program will, by definition, be a success. At a minimum, this program will validate the potential for using a commercially available agent as an alternative for the currently used AFFF. The program has the potential for identifying a suitable commercially available alternative, in use today (depending on the trade-offs in system designs and/or performance (i.e., safety factors) willing to be made by the DoD) and to begin the development of an approval specification for rapid deployment of the agent throughout the DoD.