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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:47 pm 
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Scientists have created a sieve using graphene oxide that is capable of making seawater drinkable.

The development by UK-based researchers brings closer the prospect of providing clean water to millions of people who struggle to gain access.

The team at the University of Manchester, where colleagues won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for first extracting graphene, have managed to precisely control the sizes of pores in a graphene oxide sieve.

With man-made climate change and dwindling water supplies, countries have been increasingly investing in desalination processes.

The UN has predicted that around 1.2 billion people, or 14% of the world’s population, will experience difficulties sourcing clean water by 2025.

Professor Rahul Nair, who led the team of scientists in Manchester, hopes their research will open the doors to improving desalination technology.

He said: “Realisation of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology.

“This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.”

The hope is that graphene-oxide membrane systems can be built on smaller scales, because for starters, they are a lot easier and cheaper to create in the lab than single-layers of graphene, making the technology more affordable.

It will allow countries which do not have the financial infrastructure to fund large plants without compromising on the volume and quality of fresh water produced.

The research is published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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