Wanted: Clean Drinking Water
Lockheed Martin introduces affordable solution to address growing global problem
While water covers more than 70 percent of Earth, only about 3 percent is considered clean enough to drink. With the global demand for potable water growing, the sea is viewed as a potential solution.
In order to drink this water, it must be desalinated. Reverse osmosis systems can achieve this through a costly process that requires large amounts of energy.
Now, Lockheed Martin is working on a solution that will offer an answer. The company recently received a patent for Perforene™ material, a molecular filtration solution designed to meet the growing global demand for potable water.
“Access to clean drinking water is going to become more critical as the global population continues to grow, and we believe that this simple and affordable solution will be a game-changer for the industry,” said Dr. Ray O Johnson, Lockheed Martin senior vice president and chief technology officer.
The Perforene membrane features holes that are one nanometer – one billionth of a meter – or less in a graphene sheet. Small enough to trap sodium, chlorine and other ions from sea water, the holes dramatically improve the flow-through of water molecules, reducing clogging and pressure on the membrane.
Made of pure carbon and similar to graphite, graphene is so thin – only one atom thick – it allows water to flow through 100 times better than current reverse osmosis systems, making it more effective at desalination at a fraction of the cost.
The Lockheed Martin team, which consists of experts from its Mission Systems and Training, Advanced Technology Labs and Space Systems businesses with significant investment from Corporate Engineering and Technology, is also investigating other applications for the Perforene material, such as separating proteins for biopharmaceutical use and removing chemical substances and compounds from water used in oil and gas wells.
Posted on March 22, 2013