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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

2021 SERDP AFFF Challenge

PFAS-free Firefighting Foams

Department of Defense - Office of the Secretary of Defense (Acquisition & Sustainment)

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $10,000
Type of Challenge: Technology demonstration and hardware, Scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Submission Start: 2021/07/13 12:00 PM ET
Submission End: 09/30/2021 2:00 PM ET


Legacy aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a firefighting foam is facing increasing regulatory scrutiny throughout the world due to environmental and human health concerns associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are persistent in the environment, and the DoD will be requiring PFAS-free firefighting agents in the near future. The DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) are tasked with developing and demonstrating PFAS-free firefighting agents for use as a replacement for legacy AFFF.

This challenge provides an opportunity for individuals and firms of various sizes to contribute to the development of an AFFF alternative by submitting innovative formulations that can approach and match the capabilities of legacy AFFF. The submitter will initially demonstrate these capabilities by performing a small pan fire extinguishing test as described later in this document and in the supporting video.

Key Dates

  • Submission period begins: July 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm ET
  • Submission period ends: September 30 2021 at 2:00 pm ET


Multiple cash prizes up to $10,000 may be awarded.

Research and development funds may be awarded beyond the cash prize to successful submitters.


This challenge is inherently dangerous. If you do not have the correct protective equipment, test materials or facilities, DO NOT PROCEED. Any submission that shows inadequate equipment or hazardous conditions, will be disqualified. In addition, SERDP assumes no responsibility for damage or injuries that may occur when performing this challenge.

Any video showing unsafe practices will lead to disqualification.

All submissions will be held in confidence in accordance with the Federal Trade Secrets Act (18 USC 1905). Submissions including Non-Disclosure Agreements will not be accepted.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

A panel of U.S. Government subject matter experts will serve as judges for this challenge.

Judging Criteria

Judging criteria are based on physical properties of the foam, fire performance characteristics, and potential environmental impacts. More information is provided within the guidance document.

How to Enter

Submit your entry via email to with the following media files included as attachments. Where necessary, a large file transfer link will be provided to you upon request.

  1. Submission form (pages 13-15 within AFFF Challenge Guidance.pdf). Update the filename to include LASTNAME_ORGANIZATION.
  2. Video(s) of the fire test.
  3. Photo(s) of the setup and safety equipment.
  4. Photo(s) of the concentrate prior to mixing with water.
  5. Photo(s) of the solution after mixing with water (prior to generating foam).
  6. Photo(s) of the foam product.

Images of firefighters putting out fires