Groundbreaking water filtration system makes Sydney Harbour water drinkable

Groundbreaking water filtration system makes Sydney Harbour water drinkable

Many people around the world take clean and abundant drinking water for granted.

CSIRO scientists have developed a supercharged water filter membrane that is capable of making water from Sydney Harbour drinkable.

The scientists created the Graphair process using a film that has microscopic nano-channels allowing water to pass through but stops any pollutants in the water.

"Usually, graphene films are known to be impermeable to water, but we detected water passing through our special graphene film known as 'GraphAir" in 2016.

'This paved the way for the experiments that have now shown this remarkable and entirely unexpected membrane performance'.

Dr Seo says when the Graphair was added, the membrane filtered even more contaminants (99 per cent removal) faster. To test the Graphair filter, the scientist coated a commercially available water filter with Graphair and analyzed the water filtered with it.

The Graphair filter can replace a much more complex and multistep water filtration process with a single step.

"All that's needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump".

Groundbreaking water filtration system makes Sydney Harbour water drinkable
Groundbreaking water filtration system makes Sydney Harbour water drinkable

CSIRO is hoping to begin field trials in a developing-world community next year after researchers from QUT, the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and Victoria University confirmed Graphair's water purification qualities.

The Graphene membrane then works to purify the water and rejects enables 100% salt rejection and 100% household contaminants such as oil and detergents.

The report also revealed estuarine beaches in Sydney such as Rose Bay and Riverview's Tambourine Bay, have recorded poor ratings, due to issues with contaminants flushed out after heavy rainfall or sewerage problems.

Dr Seo hopes this breakthrough research can be developed for use as a town's water supply filtering system.

With nearly 2.1 billion people around the world, a third of the world's population, this research could be life saving as a result of providing clean water. We turn on a faucet and all the water we want is there.

In some parts of the world access to drinkable water is very hard and scientists have been working on ways to make clean drinking water for these environments.

The breakthrough research was published today in Nature Communications.