£700,000 Grant Awarded by Innovate UK for the development of low cost self-cleaning graphene-coated membranes

G2O Water International Limited (G2O), the graphene innovation and application company, announces that a consortium led by G2O has had a £706,922 (USD 1 million) funding application approved by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, under the “Creating smart products from smart materials” programme, to enhance the performance of existing filter membranes.

The Innovate UK-supported project is to develop a low cost, self-cleaning coating technology based on functionalised graphene. The technology has already been demonstrated successfully by G2O in lab-scale tests. The aim of the project is to produce a smart filter membrane for use in environmental remediation which will be evaluated by Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for decommissioning the UK’s nuclear legacy.

Led by G2O, this project will translate the lab-scale work into a working, robust, reliable manufacturing process which can be scaled-up to enhance the performance of existing filter membranes. The coating will be formulated and validated by the consortium for deployment in a number of different applications, with the resultant smart product having the ability to be taken to market and readily applied to improve the performance of a broad range of industrial processes.

G2O’s ground-breaking patented technology applies a graphene coating to membranes, manufactured by third parties, which dramatically increases the performance of the membrane and also allows membranes to be used in new applications and end markets where fouling currently prevents their use. The technology has the potential to transform the water and environmental industry by reducing energy costs by up to 90%, combined with reduced filtration fouling and most importantly, it has the ability to effectively clean waste water so that it can be re-used.

G2O will be working with AIM-listed Haydale Graphene Industries Plc (“Haydale” (LSE:HAYD)) and the Centre for Process Innovation (“CPI”) to investigate the supply of graphene materials and process scale-up, and with Sellafield Ltd to evaluate its performance with nuclear effluent.

In order to utilise graphene in any application, it must first be appropriately functionalised so that the end product can take full advantage of its superior properties. The key to realising the full potential of graphene is homogeneous dispersion and chemical bonding with the matrix. Haydale (http://www.haydale.com) have a proprietary low temperature plasma process, which is believed to be the most effective method of achieving graphene functionalisation and harnessing the potential of graphene to create the high quality optimised coatings required for the ‘smart’ membrane. Membrane filters can be applied to a variety of industrial liquid and gas separation applications such as water desalination, waste water treatment, and water-oil separation.

G2O CEO Tim Harper commented:

“Graphene has the potential to be a transformative technology in environmental remediation, whether providing low cost drinking water or cleaning up environmentally hazardous substances. After two rounds of independent assessments of the technology, its applications and the business itself, the approval from Innovate UK validates both the game changing nature of G2O’s technology, as well as the strength of our partners who will assist us in scaling up. We look forward to Sellafield Ltd being a long term customer.”

3rd September 2015
Contact:

G2O Water
Tim Harper 07894 708989

Lothbury Financial Services
Michael Padley/ Eleanor Moore 0203 290 0707
Editors’ Note

About G2O Water International (http://g2o.co)

G2O is based on research by Dr Miao Yu of the University of South Carolina and entrepreneur Tim Harper who has been investigating opportunities for nanomaterials to help solve the growing water crisis since 2004.

G2O applies a patented graphene coating to membranes manufactured by third parties which dramatically increases the performance of the membrane and also allows membranes to be applied in new applications and end markets where fouling currently prevents their use.

The proprietary solution, which coats the membrane to a thickness of a few nanometres, is a single stage process applied to existing membranes currently used, for example, in the water and waste treatment industry, so no changes are required to be made to existing plant and infrastructure. The relatively small amount of graphene required makes the production process extremely cost effective and the material is readily available, adding very little cost to the membrane while giving exponential performance gains to the plant operator. This allows membrane manufacturers to produce a premium product for a relatively small incremental cost when set against the value generated for the end user / plant operator.

The G2O membranes have been tried, proven and tested as well as peer reviewed. Extensive laboratory testing mirroring industrial conditions separating oil from water has validated the membranes performance capabilities vs existing filtration membranes and scalability to plant applications. The coating allows a higher water flux, i.e. the flow rate, at lower pressures with reduced fouling, thus significantly lowering the energy and/or time required for many industrial filtration processes, leading to significant cost savings.

The G2O membranes have been tried, proven and tested as well as peer reviewed across a wide range of commonly used membrane materials (polyamide, ceramic, polysulfone, cellulose nitrate). Extensive laboratory testing mirroring industrial conditions separating oil from water has validated the membranes performance capabilities vs. existing filtration membranes and scalability to plant applications.

G2O has been featured in Global Water Intelligence’s Water Desalination Report, The World Economic Forum’s Agenda and Scientific American.

About the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) (http://www.uk-cpi.com)

CPI is a UK based technology based innovation centre and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult set up by the UK Government. It has a substantial capability and facilities related to characterisation, scale-up and technology transfer for UK industry. CPI is one of the centres within the HVM Catapult and recently established the Graphene Applications Centre (http://www.uk-cpi.com/graphene/), to help accelerate the process of translating ideas to commercial realities for its customers. CPI has a proven track record in the management of collaborative research projects at both UK and EU level.

About The National Nuclear Laboratory
The membrane performance evaluation for nuclear effluent will be carried out by the National Nuclear Laboratory (http://www.nnl.co.uk).

About Sellafield Ltd

Sellafield Ltd is responsible for safely delivering decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear legacy, fuel recycling and the management of low, high and intermediate level nuclear waste activities on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Sellafield are the end-user in this project and are keen to look for solutions to reduce the emissions and volume of nuclear waste effluent. They typically treat up to 1.1m m3 of nuclear effluent a year and offer the consortium a unique market opportunity. (http://www.sellafieldsites.com)

About Haydale Graphene Industries (www.haydale.com)
Haydale has developed a patent pending proprietary scalable plasma process to functionalise graphene and other nanomaterials. This enabling technology can provide Haydale with a rapid and highly cost efficient method of supplying tailored solutions to enhance applications for both raw material suppliers and product manufacturers.
Functionalisation is carried out through a low pressure plasma process that treats both organic mined fine powder and other synthetically produced nanomaterial powders producing high quality few layered graphenes and graphene nano platelets. The process can functionalise with a range of chemical groups, where the amount of chemicals can be tailored to the customer needs. Good dispersion improves the properties and performance of the host material and ensures it delivers as specified.
The Haydale plasma process does not use wet chemistry, neither does it damage the material being processed, rather it can clean up impurities inherent in the raw material. The technology is a low energy user and most importantly environmentally friendly. The Haydale method is an enabling technology where working with a raw material producer can add value to the base product and tailor the outputs to meet the target applications of the end user.
Haydale, based in South Wales, housed in a purpose built facility for processing and handling nanomaterials with a laboratory facility, is facilitating the application of graphenes and other nanomaterials in fields such as inks, sensors, energy storage, photovoltaics, composites, paints and coatings.