Thursday, 15 February 2018 21:21

CSIRO achieves ‘breakthrough’ to enhance water purification

By
Dr Seo collecting a water sample from Sydney Harbour Dr Seo collecting a water sample from Sydney Harbour

CSIRO scientists have developed new technology they say supercharges water purification, making it simpler, more effective and quicker.

Using their own specially designed form of graphene, "Graphair", the CSIRO says the new filtering technique is so effective, water samples from Sydney Harbour were safe to drink after passing through the filter.

The breakthrough research was published today in Nature Communications.

"Almost a third of the world's population, some 2.1 billion people, don't have clean and safe drinking water," the paper's lead author, CSIRO scientist Dr Dong Han Seo, said.

"As a result, millions — mostly children — die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year.

"In Graphair we've found a perfect filter for water purification. It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.”

While graphene is the world's strongest material and can be just a single carbon atom thin, it is usually water repellent.

Using their Graphair process, CSIRO researchers were able to create a film with microscopic nano-channels that let water pass through, but stopped pollutants.

As an added advantage, Graphair is simpler, cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly than graphene to make.

It consists of renewable soybean oil, more commonly found in vegetable oil.

Dr Seo and his colleagues took water samples from Sydney Harbour and ran it through a commercially available water filter, coated with Graphair – and researchers from QUT, the University of Sydney, UTS, and Victoria University then tested and analysed its water purification qualities.

According to the CSIRO, the breakthrough potentially solves one of the great problems with current water filtering methods: fouling.

Over time, chemical- and oil-based pollutants coat and impede water filters, meaning contaminants have to be removed before filtering can begin.

But tests showed Graphair continued to work even when coated with pollutants, and without Graphair, the membrane's filtration rate halved in 72 hours.

Dr Seo says when the Graphair was added, the membrane filtered even more contaminants (99% removal) faster.

"This technology can create clean drinking water, regardless of how dirty it is, in a single step," he said.

"All that's needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump. We're hoping to commence field trials in a developing world community next year."

CSIRO is looking for industry partners to scale up the technology so it can be used to filter a home or even town's water supply, and it’s also investigating other applications such as the treatment of seawater and industrial effluents.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments