New technology for water purification

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Graphene water filter
By Michelle Robertson
The creators of a revolutionary new type of water filter say that it can rapidly turn highly polluted seawater into drinkable water. Using a type of graphene called Graphair, scientists from Australia claim to have found a way to provide the solution for billions of people around the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water. They say that their discovery is 99% more effective than conventional water filters. The lead author of the research team, Dong Han Seo of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), explained that the filter can “replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step."

The key component of the filter is a coating of graphene film with “microscopic nanochannels” that allow water molecules to pass through, whilst stopping the larger molecules of pollutants. A water filtration membrane without this graphene film tends to get coated with contaminants, thus blocking the pores that allow the water to pass through. Graphair is a form of graphene made out of soybean oil. It is much less expensive and simpler to produce than other types of graphene, and that makes the project economically viable. This technology is being designed primarilly for seawater and industrial wastewater treatment plants, but the team at CSIRO believes that it could eventually be used for household and town-based water filtration systems as well.


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