Scaled development of graphene membranes and development of a demonstration laboratory purification device for commercial trials


CSIRO has invented a novel membrane using their patented form of graphene, called GraphAir. This membrane has been shown to produce pure water at a reduced cost compared to established technology. GraphAir’s competitive advantage is that it is a long-lasting and high-flux membrane used in membrane distillation devices to produce purified water in 1-2 steps compared to 6-10 steps in conventional systems. Furthermore, GraphAir has been able to remove from water dissolved NaCl, metal salts, detergents, mineral oils, acids, alkalines, mine tailings, and per-/poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals.

Over the course of this SIEF EDP Project the GraphAir membrane production has been scaled to a rate of 880 cm2/day (88x increase) with a 97% reduction in costs. A demonstration GraphAir water purification device has been developed which is able to produce commercially significant volumes (50 L/day) of purified water.

Technology evaluation trials are now underway in partnership with two Australian based businesses. The first project is for the development of a new product in the beverage sector and the second project is to produce pure water suitable for an electrolysis plant.

A GraphAir-based water purification device is expected to find use in the production of laboratory water (a $US 10.3 billion market growing at 10% per year). Discussions remain ongoing with two major players in the laboratory water segment. Other water purification markets such as semiconductor water, biopharma water, wastewater treatment and remote potable water remain active opportunities. Discussions regarding more technology evaluation trials are occurring in the areas of brine management, pharmaceutical grade water, mineral recovery and mine wastewater. These economically viable opportunities which have developed throughout the SIEF EDP Project demonstrate this technology could also create significant social and environmental impact for Australia.