The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia has created a water filtering membrane using graphene reported in Nature Communications. The filter was designed to have “nano-channels” created by multilayer, mismatched and partially overlapping graphene grains (called Graphair) which allows water to pass through, but not contaminants. Further, the graphene films are derived from soybean oil, a renewable natural precursor.
In tests to date, the filter has demonstrated remarkable efficiency, being able to replace the multi-stage filtering processes currently used for filtering water with a single step. The studies authors also demonstrated real world applicability of the technology, processing and desalinating sea water from the Sydney Harbor, and resulting in water that was safe to drink after passing through the filter.
CSIRO is seeking industry partners to scale up their technology and hopes to “commence field trials in a developing world community next year”, according to CSIRO scientist Dr. Dong Han Seo.