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Super material filters Sydney Harbour water: Anti-fouling graphene-based membranes for effective water desalination

Keynote at AIM18, presented by Michael Seo

Date & Time: Thursday 22 February 2018, 14:15

Location: Olympic Room


The inability of membranes to handle a wide spectrum of pollutants is an important unsolved problem for water treatment. Here we demonstrate water desalination via a membrane distillation process using a graphene membrane where water permeation is enabled by nano-channels of multi-layer, mismatched, partially-overlapping, graphene grains. Graphene films derived from renewable oil exhibit significantly superior retention of water vapour flux and salt rejection rates, and a superior anti-fouling capability under a mixture of saline water containing contaminants such as oils and surfactants, compared to commercial distillation membranes. Moreover, real world applicability of our membrane is demonstrated by processing sea-water from Sydney Harbour over 72 hours with macroscale membrane size of 4 cm2, processing ~0.5 L per day. Numerical simulations show that the channels between the mismatched grains serve as an effective water permeation route. Our research will pave the way for large-scale graphene-based anti-fouling membranes for diverse water treatment applications.

Published in Nature Communications online 14th of February 2018.

Read more on the CSIRO blog

Presentation Video

Presenting Author

Photo ofMichael Seo

Michael Seo