20
June
2018
|
15:26
Europe/London

University researchers awarded prestigious prize to tackle water scarcity

Today (20 June 2018), HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan announced the winners for the 8th Award of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) at the opening session of UNISPACE+50 conference in Vienna, Austria.

Professor Andre Geim and Professor Rahul Nair at The University of Manchester have won this year’s Creativity Prize for their ground-breaking research in graphene-based membranes.

Professor Andre Geim and Professor Rahul Nair have developed membranes based on graphene oxide laminates which act as atomic-scale sieves allowing water to pass through while blocking salts and other molecules, a mechanism completely different from that of polymer-based membranes. This will enable energy-efficient and high-volume water filtration.

The team achieved this through a simple and scalable self-assembly process that provides stable, angstrom-scale slits at the precise size needed for desalination.

The Awards ceremony for the 8th Award will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York later in the year.

PSIPW is a leading, global scientific award focusing on cutting-edge innovation in water research. It gives recognition to scientists, researchers and inventors around the world for pioneering work that addresses the problem of water scarcity in creative and effective ways.

To this end, PSIPW offer a suite of five prizes every two years, covering the entire water research landscape.

The Creativity prize is awarded to an innovator or pioneer for any water-related scientific work that can rightly be considered a breakthrough in any water-related field. The work might be a body of research, an invention, or a new patented technology.

I am delighted to know that our research on the graphene-based membrane is recognised by PSIPW and we will continue our efforts to make this research beneficial for the wider society
Professor Rahul Nair

Nominations for the prizes awarded, came from over 50 countries and have been evaluated on their originality, potential impact, applicability, and its usefulness to society, particularly with respect to development and solving problems on an international level.


Research on graphene oxide membrane has been growing rapidly since 2012 when Prof Geim and Prof Nair first demonstrated that these membranes block the passage of several gases and liquids, but lets water through.

Prof Nair said, “I am delighted to know that our research on the graphene-based membrane is recognised by PSIPW and we will continue our efforts to make this research beneficial for the wider society.”

Graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material- many more times stronger than steel, lightweight, flexible and more conductive than copper.

Graphene membranes have the potential to revolutionise people’s lives from water filtration and desalination, smart food packaging and gas separation.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons