The UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) awarded a £3.5 million ($5.3 million) to the University of Manchester, for graphene membranes research, with an aim to bring desalination plants, safer food packaging and enhanced disease detection closer to reality.
These highly selective graphene membranes are made from graphene platelets. The aim of the project is to produce working prototypes together with industrial partners. The university researchers already demonstrated that graphene oxide membranes are highly permeable to water, while being completely impermeable to gases and organic liquids when dry. Now they plan to combine graphene with a new type of polymers invented at Manchester (called Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity, or PIMs) which hopefully enable membranes that are even better than pure graphene ones.
The University of Manchester isn't the only one researching graphene membranes. Just last month Lockheed Martin said that they have developed a new energy-efficient graphene-based water desalination technology using patented graphene-based filters (called Perforene) that has nanometer-sized holes in them that allow water to pass through - but not salt molecules.
Source: the University of Manchester