Graphene oxide layers made to mimic biological channels may clean up pharmaceuticals production

KAUST researchers have tailored the structure of graphene-oxide layers to mimic the shape of biological channels, creating ultra-thin membranes to rapidly separate chemical mixtures. This may have the potential to inspire new materials to clean up chemical and pharmaceutical production.

2D-dual-spacing channel membranes for high performance organic solvent nanofiltration image

"In making pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, separating mixtures of organic molecules is an essential and tedious task," says Shaofei Wang, postdoctoral researcher in Suzana Nuñes lab at KAUST. One option to make these chemical separations faster and more efficient is through selectively permeable membranes, which feature tailored nanoscale channels that separate molecules by size.

Chinese researchers achieve photo-induced ultrafast active ion transport through graphene oxide membranes

Researchers from the Chinese Tsinghua University and CAS demonstrated a coupled photon-electron-ion transport phenomenon through graphene oxide membranes. Using the energy of light, cations are able to move thermodynamically uphill over a broad range of concentrations, at rates orders of magnitude faster than that via simple diffusion.

Based on this mechanism, the team further developed photonic ion switches, photonic ion diodes, and photonic ion transistors as the fundamental elements for active ion sieving and artificial photosynthesis on synthetic nanofluidic circuits.

CPI, Haydale and others collaborate on Smart Filter project

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has collaborated on a project to advance the development of a low-cost, self-cleaning coating technology for industrial filter membranes.

CPI, Haydale and others collaborate on Smart Filter project image

The Smart Filter project used graphene and its derivatives to create a coated filter membrane that offers increased resistance to fouling for industrial waste water treatment. Membrane filters are used in a number of industrial separation applications but are afflicted by fouling, which typically lowers throughput or increases energy consumption, and reduces filter life. Focusing upon oil water separation and nuclear waste water treatment, the collaboration, with G2O Water Technologies, Haydale and Sellafield, developed a repeatable, reproducible and scalable process to make coated filter membranes, which delivered a 30% improvement in permeability when compared to an equivalent uncoated filter.

Researchers use bacteria to create a graphene oxide based water filter that kills bacteria

Researchers from Washington University have designed a novel membrane technology that purifies water while preventing biofouling, or buildup of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that reduce the flow of water. And they used graphene and bacteria to build these filtering membranes.

Researchers use bacteria to create a graphene oxide based water filter that kills bacteria image

The team developed an ultrafiltration membrane using graphene oxide and bacterial nanocellulose that they found to be highly efficient, long-lasting and environmentally friendly. If their technique were to be scaled up to a large size, it could benefit many developing countries where clean water is scarce.

G2O secures £1 million investment

water technology company G2O recently announced a £1.035 million investment in a round led by private equity firm Maven Capital Partners, and plans to sign collaborative partnerships with suppliers and enter global markets to expand customer reach.

Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s most active private equity firms, has led a £1.035 million investment in Manchester-headquartered water treatment technology business. A total of £600,000 has been provided by Maven funds, which includes a £400,000 investment from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and a £200,000 investment from the Finance Durham Fund, both managed by Maven. The additional £435,000 is from a number of private individual investors.