A research team at Khalifa University of Science and Technology has announced the development of a material made from graphene that is capable of removing pollutants from industrial wastewater. The material takes advantage of two resources readily available in the region: dates and sand.
The researchers used date syrup to provide the carbon used in the graphene production. Theteam decomposed the date syrup using a process called pyrolysis, which chemically decomposes organic materials using high temperatures in the absence of oxygen.
The pyrolysis process results in a change to the chemical composition of the material and produces a large volume of graphene material that attaches to the sand without any further chemical agents.
In a lab environment, the team was able to remove dye and heavy metals from multicomponent systems, and the researchers concluded their material could be used for water purification.
“This will undoubtedly open new avenues for the practicability of graphene to curb the existing water shortage,” said project lead Dr. Fawzi Banat. “We hope our material will help in increasing water resources in the UAE, reducing energy consumption in wastewater treatment processes and be used to convert oily wastewaters from waste-to-commodity that can be used in applications such as industrial recycling and agriculture.”