A new method of water purification, which, as they say, can save millions of lives, has been developed by Australian scientists. Experts from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) designed their own type of graphene, a form of carbon that consists of only a series of carbon atoms in a grid called “GraphAir”.
The new technology makes water cleaning faster, more efficient and simpler for the 2.1 billion people around the world who have no access to clean drinking water. GraphAir was tested on water samples from Sydney Harbor and was so effective that many independent analyzes considered water suitable for just one filtration.
Research leader Dong Han Seo explained how water was selected from this point because the water there resembles what is in areas where cleaning is necessary. “Sydney Harbor was chosen as a representative water source with a mixture of outflows from light industrial and residential areas,” he explained by speaking to the Chinese agency Xinhua.
Although it contains only a thin layer of carbon, graphene is the most powerful material in the world. However, it is usually hydrophobic, it does not absorb water. To solve this problem, the research team created a grappling membrane with microscopic channels that will allow the water to pass, but binds the pollutants. The GraphAir membrane can be applied to commercially available water filters and can improve their performance immediately.
Traditionally, the construction of fine graphene membranes includes many hazardous compressed gases, such as pure hydrogen gas and methane gas, as precursors that are expensive and explosive. “The GraphAir process involves replacing all expensive and dangerous ingredients with safe, low-cost materials such as vegetable oils,” says Seo.
CSIRO will increase GraphAir production in 2018 to make it commercially available worldwide.