The collaboration project is led by G2O Water International, which has developed a graphene enabled self-cleaning membrane that could be used in new water filtration systems.
This early-stage technology uses layers of graphene oxide, a variant of the 2D nano-material, in such a way that only water molecules can pass through.
The technology, according to G2O, prevents fouling – basically it won’t become clogged or degraded - and that means the filters can be more effective for longer.
Alongside CPI and Sellafield, G2O aims to develop a low-cost version of the technology that can be used in desalinisation, oil and water separation and nuclear waste treatment.
G2O, on its website, claims that its membrane could significantly reduce the cost of the water desalinisation process (by cutting energy requirements by 80-90%), though the technology can be customised to suite other applications.
Dr Tom Taylor, CPI director for Future Business, described it as an “extremely exciting application” and said that it could provide a solution to millions of people across the globe – though it has to be emphasised that, so far, the technology has been confined to ‘the lab’.
“The key is to develop the technology from the lab and towards the volumes, processes and price points needed to facilitate mass market adoption, and that is exactly what CPI is working with companies to do,” Taylor said in a statement.
G2O’s Tim Harper added: “Graphene has the potential to be a transformative technology in environmental remediation, whether providing low cost drinking water or cleaning up environmentally hazardous substances.
“After two rounds of independent assessments of the technology, its applications and the business itself, the approval from Innovate UK validates both the game changing nature of G2O’s technology, as well as the strength of our partners who will assist us in scaling up.
“We look forward to Sellafield Ltd being a long term customer.”
Haydale’s role in the venture is to provide the graphene enhanced materials to G2O. The aim quoted group has a proprietary functionalisation process, via a plasma reactor, which ‘enables’ the so-called miracle material.
The CPI is supported by Innovate UK, a British quango set up to help fund the development of new technologies.