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We all turn on the tap daily and never think about the clean drinking water that departs it into our glass ready for us to drink. However, ‘by 2025 the UN expects that 14% of the world's population will encounter water scarcity. At Clearwater Technology, we work in a business that endeavours to conserve water by reducing consumption, reclaiming and processing water so it can be used again. As the effects of climate change continue to reduce urban water supplies, wealthy modern countries are also investing in desalination technologies’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39482342). Therefore, the recent developments to remove salt from water, such as sea water, could aid millions of people without immediate access to clean drinking water, but it also secures all our futures by providing us with security to sustain ourselves.

There have of course been previous desalination techniques including membranes, however it’s always been difficult to manufacture effective graphene based barriers on an industrial scale, while they’re all expensive to create. The new and promising graphene oxide sieve could be taking the technology forward by proposing to be highly efficient at filtering salts with the ‘ability to precisely control the size of pores’ in the graphene oxide sieve.

Developed by a team of scientists from the ‘University of Manchester’, led by Professor Rahul Nair, he stated the technique would,

‘…open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology. Realization of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology…This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.’ (www.techspot.com/news/68790-new-graphene-based-sieve-technique-could-make-seawater.html)

Therefore, the next step is ensuring the technology is possible in industrial scale with the goal to create a filtration device that will produce potable water from seawater or wastewater using minimal energy. This is clearly an exciting development in the road to achieving this objective and the ‘new research demonstrates the real-world potential of providing clean drinking water for millions of people who struggle to access adequate clean water sources.’ (http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/graphene-sieve-turns-seawater-into-drinking-water/)

To find out more visit http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/graphene-sieve-turns-seawater-into-drinking-water/ and watch the video.

Image (www.manchester.ac.uk)

#desalination #graphene #seawater #wastewater