In some parts of the world access to drinkable water is very hard and scientists have been working on ways to make clean drinking water for these environments.
CSIRO scientists have developed a supercharged water filter membrane that is capable of making water from Sydney Harbour drinkable.
"As a result, millions - mostly children - die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year".
The scientists created the Graphair process using a film that has microscopic nano-channels allowing water to pass through but stops any pollutants in the water.
"That's the sort of commonly found water which could need to be filtered".
The breakthrough research was published today in Nature Communications. "It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes now needed with a single step".
Dr Seo and his colleagues took water samples from Sydney Harbour and ran it through a commercially available water filter, coated with Graphair - and researchers from QUT, the University of Sydney, UTS, and Victoria University then tested and analysed its water purification qualities.
In addition to its effective filtration capabilities, Graphair is cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly to produce than other graphene as it is made from soybean oil, which is most often found in vegetable oil.
"This technology can create clean drinking water, regardless of how dirty it is, in a single step". "We're hoping to commence field trials in a developing world community next year".
According to the CSIRO, the breakthrough potentially solves one of the great problems with current water filtering methods: fouling. After the Graphair was added however, scientists say the filter did not clog, more contaminants were filtered and the water was determined safe to drink.
Over time chemical and oil based pollutants coat and impede water filters, meaning contaminants have to be removed before filtering can begin. The tests showed that Graphair continued to work even when coated with pollutants where without the Graphair coating the filter lost half its filtration rate in 72 hours.
The Graphine technology is a water filter membrane technology which purifies polluted water in a single step.