Innovation That Matters

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Versatile membrane technology for greener, cheaper water filtration


A new, two-dimensional membrane coating could make water filtration cheaper and more sustainable

Spotted: Access to clean, fresh water is a growing concern for many areas around the world – compounded by climate change, poor water quality, pollution, and population growth. However, traditional water filtration and purification methods can use a great deal of energy, as well as unsustainable chemicals. Molymem, a company spun out from the University of Manchester, has developed an energy-efficient and highly versatile membrane coating that could lead to an innovative water filtration solution.

The technology, which was developed by a team led by Professor Rob Dryfe and Dr Mark Bissett, uses a two-dimensional material called modified molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) – a natural crystal that has similar physical properties to graphene. This material is used to coat membrane systems and improve their performance.

In tests, the team found that the MoS2 coating equalled or improved how the membrane systems rejected various salts and other organic molecules, such as nitrates. Moreover, the new technology is much cheaper to implement than traditional solutions.

Richard Lydon, a filtration expert and senior advisor to Molymem explained: “This unique technology is an added value to existing membrane systems reducing particulate ‘clogging’ of the current filter, enabling improved life, reducing the use of chemicals and increasing flux (water flow).”

Molymem has recently completed a seed equity round which raised £500,000 (around €564,000) to help the company scale up the production of its membrane coating.

As global warming changes weather patterns and water availability, there is a growing need for sustainable and reliable water filtration. Springwise has spotted a host of innovations that aim to meet this need. These include a gravity-powered desalinator that works without an energy supply, and a wastewater treatment technology powered by sunlight and wave motion.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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