Innovative Australian partnership to revolutionise water and wastewater filtration

Australian SMEs Clean TeQ and Ionic Industries have joined forces with a leading researcher from Monash University to develop next-gen water and wastewater filtration technology.

The new wastewater filtration products will be based on the latest advances in nanotechnology, using graphene oxide to dramatically improve performance and reduce current energy use.

The research and development team behind the project recently won funding through the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program and aim to deliver working products in the next 2-3 years.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Mainak Majumder from Monash University has a strong track record of breakthroughs in graphene technology. In 2016 his team was the first to perfect a technique that could create graphene filters on an industrial scale.

“Graphene has special properties which could disrupt current commercial filtration techniques and significantly reduce the energy required to filter wastewater,” he said.

Clean TeQ Executive Director Mr Peter Voigt said that the CRC-P funding will support the delivery of low energy, continuous flow processes for the water and wastewater treatment market.

“The commercial market for water and wastewater treatment is estimated to be $US54B by 2020. Freshwater scarcity is a critical barrier to energy and food production and industry in general. Contaminated freshwater sources, such as ground and surface water and municipal wastewater, are excellent  sources  of  freshwater  provided  they can be economically treated. We plan to be the first to take this breakthrough technology to market in Australia and in developing countries such as China, India, South America and South Africa, where access to clean freshwater is a significant issue,” he said.

Ionic Industries Managing Director Mr Simon Savage said that he was excited to be part of the joint venture, and to continue a long history of working with Monash University and Associate Professor Majumder. Ionic and Monash have previously partnered in two ARC funded programs on graphene technologies.

“Our partnership with Associate Professor Majumder has been pivotal in assisting with the transition of graphene manufacturing expertise out of the laboratory and into commercial applications, and the involvement of CleanTeQ, a highly successful Australian Company, is a testament to the strength  and  commercial  prospects  of  this technology,” he said.

Graphene is a lattice of carbon atoms so thin it’s considered to be two-dimensional. It has been hailed as a ‘wonder-material’ because of its incredible performance characteristics and range of potential applications.

Director of Monash Infrastructure, Associate Dean Research and world-leading water researcher Professor Ana Deletic said that the team’s new process is a wonderful opportunity for the global water sector.

“This system will modernise Australia’s current waste water management from the traditional treatment approach to a low-energy consumption, resource recovery approach,” she said.

Professor Deletic will be involved in the project, along with fellow Monash researchers Dr Rico Tabor and Associate Professor David McCarthy.