Is graphene the next hype eco-friendly material?

  • 14 Feb
  • 2 min

Researchers are digging deep into graphene, from energetics to medical and industrial applications.

Known as the strongest and lightest material in the world, graphene is basically made of carbon atoms gathered in one-atom-thick sheet. Today, it is used in many different products and industries: shoes, sport equipment, smartphones, light bulbs, microphones, wearables, art, and the list goes on. Graphene is now taking over urban infrastructure, such as roads – Eco Pave is a graphene-enhanced additive designed by Directa Plus and Iterchimica to improve the durability and sustainability of asphalt road surfaces. It is current being tested under microgravity conditions to determine how the material could be used in space. Back on earth, graphene could help the environment. Researchers at the MIT have proven multiple times that graphene, when used in nanopouros membranes, may have a significant role in water desalination. This could be useful for countries which suffer from lack of rain and degradation (or even disappearance) of their groundwater. Scientists at Houston Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have also been working on graphene as a potential solution to cleanup contaminated sites, highlighting that graphene has the ability to remove radioactive material from contaminated water. Researchers at the University of Manchester agree, adding that graphene could help produce heavy water and reduce the emissions of CO2 associated with its traditional production. Tech applications seem unlimited. In Europe, there is even a consortium that gathers over 150 academic and industrial research groups from 23 different countries. In 2010, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the Nobel Prize in Physics "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene". Let see what other benefits graphene holds for the planet.

By Marie-Eléonore Noiré