True, the technology is a couple years away, but graphene-based Perforene developed by Lockheed could revolutionize desalination and water purification.
Lack of freshwater is becoming an increasingly desperate situation, typical desalination is energy intensive and expensive, but a graphene water filter could be 100x more efficient.
Graphene, a nanoscale material made up of pure carbon, is just one atom thick. It is porous on the molecular scale which, like chicken-wire keeps chickens in the pen, keeps everything but water molecules inside the filter.
A typical water filter would do nothing to take salt from seawater, but graphene’s molecular filtering works down to the size of a salt molecule, and salt is just too big to fit through the mesh.
Current desalination is an energy intensive process known as reverse osmosis. The simplicity of graphene as a molecular water filter could cut energy costs by 100 times, and Lockheed’s prototype Perforene drop-in replacement filter could be ready for testing in current desalination plants by the end of the year.
Molecular filtering using graphene could find applications in the medical field, such as dialysis machines. Another good application would be to clean the wastewater from hydraulic fracturing wells.