Low-cost Graphene-based Water Filtration

At GOLeafe, we are at the forefront of the graphene market, solving the biggest problem the market has – price. Our team of materials scientists and chemical engineers do this through a revolutionary patented production method that uses organic input materials, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals and high-energy inputs, thus making the process both more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. GOLeafe is now developing economically viable graphene-based clean energy technologies, starting with the water desalination membrane.

Critical Need for the Technology

The most common method of desalinating water today is through reverse osmosis (RO). Reverse osmosis consumes a great deal of energy and has a water rejection rate of up to 70%. Reverse osmosis systems require two pumps, one 0.5 hp and another 1.5 hp, to run. The energy consumed by RO systems account for 50% of the cost of running the systems to produce filtered water.

The GOLeafe capacitive deionization (CDI) system only requires one 0.5 hp pump to operate. Moreover, reverse osmosis membranes have to be replaced often, resulting in significant waste, further polluting the planet. Our CDI technology utilizes graphene (carbon) electrodes to separate ions and desalinate water, therefore has no membrane.

Reverse osmosis systems are also large and cumbersome to ship, set up, maintain, and eventually dispose of. For comparison, a 200 liters per hour RO system weighs upwards of 300 pounds, whereas the GOLeafe CDI unit of the same capacity weighs about 55 pounds.

Finally, reverse osmosis systems essentially filter out all the salts from water, whereas our CDI technology is tunable and can be programmed to maintain a certain level of salt content required for drinking water. At the scale of millions of liters per day which current RO systems operate at, reducing the energy consumption by up to 75%, thus providing a 25% savings in cost per liter, will be a game changer for the water filtration industry.

Supplemental Need for this Technology

The graphene oxide produced through our proprietary, green method can be used to enhance products across industries, such as paints/coatings, construction and packaging materials, to increase strength/durability, heat and abrasion resistance, conductivity, anti-microbial and anti-corrosive properties, among other characteristics.

Potential CO2 Reduction

GOLeafe’s patented rGOproduction method produces 87 percent less carbon emissions per unit of graphene than incumbent methods. rGOis useful as the active material in supercapacitors, which can be integrated into electric vehicle batteries to deliver more power and charge more quickly in urban settings, reducing heat losses and extending the lifetime of the battery.

Globally, light-and heavy-duty passenger vehicles produced more than 7,600 MtCO2e in 2019. Supercapacitors made using GOLeafe’s graphene could reduce life-cycle battery electric vehicle emissions by 39 percent if integrated as a hybrid energy storage system. If GOLeafe reaches its expected market penetration of 15 percent of internal combustion engine and battery electric passenger vehicles by 2042, they would deliver a 127 MtCO2e emissions reduction that year.

Potential Markets

Water filtration, paints/coatings, construction materials, packaging, and composites.

Key Innovation

The GOLeafe patented low-cost, eco-friendly graphene production process enables us to develop and commercialize innovative graphene-based products.

R & D Status of Project

GOLeafe is scaling up the graphene production process by incorporating sensor technology to increase repeatability and quality assurance across batches. We are also prototyping a graphene-based polymer membrane to both complement our CDI system as well as potentially serve as a self-standing water desalination membrane that can replace existing RO membranes.

Team Overview

Arsheen Allam, Co-Founder & CEO: Arsheen Allam has a strong background in materials science, engineering, and business. She co-founded CNanoz, a company focused on developing water purification systems based on nanotechnologies, in 2008. At CNanoz, she developed an interest in Graphene that eventually resulted in the launch of GOLeafe. She is responsible for the development and commercialization of GOLeafe’s technology, as well as strategic vision and execution. Allam holds a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, a Master’s degree in Global Innovation Management and an MBA from Fuqua’s School of Business at Duke.

Technology Profile

Status: prototype
Primary industry: advanced materials, water filtration
Category (i.e. tech keywords): clean water, clean tech, advanced materials, graphene, 2D materials, desalination

Estimated annual revenue: N/A
Employs: N/A
Social challenge: clean water
R&D commercial collaborator: N/A

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