A group of researchers from the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) developed a new technology to recycle water - based on graphene membranes. The researchers won $100,000 from the University of Texas System Horizon Fund Student Investment Competition and established a new company called American Water Recycling (AWR) to commercialize this technology. This follows an earlier $10,000 win in March 2013.
AWR claims that their graphene membrane can extract grease from water and clean it - and much faster than existing membranes. In fact, a regular membrane can process about 30 gallons a day, but the graphene based membranes will do 30 gallons per hous. AWR is now applying to a $300,000 state grant that will allow them to test the membrane in a year-long trial at a septic-tank pumping company in Las Cruces. According to their business plan, they will reach $33 million in sales in the next five years and will also develop other water-treatment and water-recycling products.
Graphene can also be used to desalinate water. Lockheed Martin developed a new energy-efficient graphene-based water desalination technology that they aim to commercialize by 2014-2015.