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Purifying Europe’s Water with Graphene Filtration

Europe consumes billions of cubic metres of water each year. Removing contaminants, pesticides, heavy metals and dangerous pathogens from this drinking water will soon become much more effective with the help of graphene. As part of the newly launched Spearhead Projects,  the Graphene Flagship has invested in GRAPHIL, a project for the production of innovative filters for household water treatment and portable water purification.

Working alongside industrial partners, Icon Lifesaver, Medica SpA and Polymem S.A — European industry leaders in the water purification sector — this Graphene Flagship Spearhead Project, GRAPHIL, targets an urgent market and societal need; the removal of toxins and contaminants that are increasingly present in European water sources.

With an estimated date for commercialisation in 2023, the project aims to produce a compact filter that can be connected directly onto a household sink or used as a portable water purifying device, to ensure all households have access to safe drinking water.

Due to the unique properties of graphene, the material favours the absorption of organic molecules. It's properties also allow the material to bind ions and metals, thus reducing the number of inorganic contaminants in water. Furthermore, unlike typical reverse osmosis, granular activated carbon and microfiltration train systems, the graphene system will provide a much simpler set up for users.

"GRAPHIL filters work as a simple microfiltration membrane," explained Letizia Bocchi, Leader for the GRAPHIL project at the Graphene Flagship. "This simplicity requires lower operation pressures, amounting in reduced water loss and lower maintenance costs for end users."

Many existing contaminants present in Europe's water sources are resistant to conventional purification technologies. The outcome of the GRAPHIL Spearhead Project aims to fulfil the need for an effective method of removing toxins from Europe's water. 

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Publishing date: 05 December 2019 11:55