Graphene Sieve to Solve Water Crisis?

  1. Sustainability problem (Water and Energy):

As climate change continues to affect our environment, sea levels will increase while clean water will become scarcer. According to MIT researchers, “more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources.” The current desalination methods of distillation through thermal energy or filtration using polymer-based membranes involve large energy expenditures and produces greenhouse gases.

(more information about water stress can be found here:

2. Graphene Sieve can help the problem:

  • Graphene sieve would use less energy than the current methods of desalination
  • Graphene sieve can filter salt out of seawater and provide drinking water to millions of people
  • Water treatment through separating water from other pollutants and ion is proposed as an energy-efficient solution to the freshwater crisis
  • While desalination using membranes is not a new method, it is currently inefficient and expensive whereas grapheme sieve would provide a quicker, cheaper, and easier alternative
  • More tests and experiments need to be done to evaluate the durability of the material



  1. Stakeholders:
    • Local and state governments
    • Water utilities
    • Desalination plants
  1. Next Steps:
    • Research and create a prototype of the graphene sieve to test in seawater and measure its results over time
    • Determine global production capacity of Graphene and cost per unit compared with other alternatives
    • Seek to partner with an environmentally-conscious desalination facility for an initial commercial test (and related publicity)

Columbia UNI: Lc3291





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