GRAPHIL filters provide clean water on-the-go
Spearhead Project GRAPHIL develops compact water filters based on graphene.
GRAPHIL works to produce innovative water filters that can easily be connected directly to a household sink, or used as a portable water purification device, to ensure easy access to safe drinking water for a sustainable cost. To this end, GRAPHIL aims to manufacture a compact filtration system using polymeric hollow fibre membranes blended with graphene.
The filters will combine membrane filtration and absorption mechanisms to remove both microbiological and inorganic contaminants. Ultrafiltration and microfiltration allow for the removal of bacteria and pathogens, while graphene-enabled adsorption targets inorganic contaminants.
GRAPHIL in a nutshell
Over 2020, GRAPHIL explored two different parallel approaches to blend graphene with hollow fibres: one by making composites of graphene oxide and polymers during the hollow fibre spinning process, and another by producing graphene oxide coatings after fibre spinning.
The results are encouraging for both approaches. Graphene Flagship partner the National Research Council (CNR), Italy, developed a standard procedure to rapidly characterise and compare the performance of fibres. Their lab experiments were performed with a mixture of three contaminants, including antibiotics and dyes.
GRAPHIL is also evaluating the efficiency for the removal of perfluorurated compounds, a class of contaminants with growing environmental concern. They demonstrated that using more graphene oxide increases the amount of contaminant removed.
One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is to provide access to safe, clean water for everyone, and to reduce the plastic waste resulting from bottled water consumption. European water quality is generally high, but many factors contribute to an increase in the number of contaminants released into the environment every day. No current technology is able to remove all of these contaminants.
The European Union are proposing a revision of the Drinking Water Directive, which regulates water for human consumption, to curb pollutants and encourage people to drink tap water. GRAPHIL was conceived to make sure everyone has clean and safe tap water, working directly towards this goal.
About the Spearhead Projects
The Spearhead Projects are initiatives designed to increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of graphene-based technologies. Each Spearhead Project is led by an industry-leading company and has specific commercial goals. They each aim to produce a high-TRL prototype or market-ready product by the end of the current phase of the Graphene Flagship in 2023.
The Graphene Flagship’s commitment to the Spearhead Projects is unshakeable: a total of one third of our funding is invested into these ventures, a bold move to maximise the impact of the Graphene Flagship in the innovation ecosystem and the European economy.