Engineers at Monash University have created graphene oxide technology that can transform contaminated water into purified water that is fit for consumption faster and more energy-efficiently than ever before.
“Using membranes made from graphene oxide, an atomically thin sheet where every atom is present on the surface, and is chemically inert so it doesn’t react with other chemicals, researchers have developed ground-breaking water treatment technology that can be manufactured using gravure printing – a widely-available industrial printing process.
The technology will directly benefit Australian and international companies seeking energy savings and other cost advantages in water and wastewater filtration and industrial processes associated with pulp and paper, food and beverage, inks, pigments and dyes, pharmaceuticals and metals.
Supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) program of approximately $1.2 million, and with investment from industry partners Clean TeQ Holdings and Ionic Industries, the technology is entering commercialisation phase after undergoing seven years of research and development.
Lead researcher, Professor Mainak Majumder from Monash’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Laboratory, said: “This Australian-made, world-first technology can be easily adapted by industries in everything from drinking water purification, to mining waste treatment to food and beverage industry applications.”
Professor Majumder said the graphene oxide membrane technology offers an enormous cost advantage to industry due to its proven ability to reduce energy consumption during water filtration.
“Since the membrane can be produced using standard industrial printing processes, the technology is also highly versatile and cost-efficient,” he said.
“The graphene oxide sheets are layered into a structure that looks a little like puff pastry when viewed under a powerful microscope. Water and small molecules can flow around individual sheets or through pin-hole defects in the sheets and pass through the layered structure.”
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