Lockheed Martin recently announced a new ultra-thin water filter called Perforene. The graphene filter boasts pores so small that a single layer should remove all of the salt from water that passes through a single layer, reducing the energy cost of the filtration process by at least 99 percent.
This, in itself, is amazing. But it comes with a drawback: if we’re able to filter seawater 100 times more effectively, we’re likely to wind up with 100 times more concentrated brine—which can have a detrimental effect on the environment when released back into the ocean.
Enter Damian Palin. The biological miner uses magnetic bacteria to extract valuable minerals from concentrated brine. The process offers the twin bonuses of creating value from waste and making the brine less toxic before it re-enters the ocean.
Combining Mr. Palin’s process with Lockheed’s new filter and a solar or wind array could create a low-impact desalinization plant that supplies water to people who desperately need it and pays for itself with the minerals extracted.
- 9 Incredible Uses for Graphene (gizmodo.com)
- Making Salt Water Drinkable Just Got 99 Per Cent Cheaper (gizmodo.co.uk)
- Graphene with nanometer holes could be super efficient for desalination and drop in replacement at existing desal plants by the end of 2013 (nextbigfuture.com)
- Pentagon Weapons-maker Finds Method for Cheap, Clean Water (merid.org)
- Graphene Antenna for terabit per second transfers and even 100 terabits per second at centimeter ranges (nextbigfuture.com)