Clean TeQ, Ionic Industries partner on graphene-based water filtration tech

Clean TeQ, a metals recovery and industrial water treatment company based in Melbourne, has formed an incorporated joint venture with Ionic Industries, an Australian company focused on the commercialisation of graphene technologies, to further develop and commercialise its graphene-oxide based water filtration membrane technology.

Clean TeQ has been working with Ionic Industries and Monash University to develop, manufacture and apply graphene oxide membranes for water filtration applications.

Subject to the agreement receiving the approval of Monash University, the partnership will see Clean TeQ funding a substantial program of works for product development and testing with the Monash research team and at Clean TeQ’s facilities.  Subject to Clean TeQ successfully completing this product development and testing phase, Clean TeQ and Ionic will form a joint venture for the purpose of bringing the products to market.

While graphene and graphene oxide are the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive materials yet discovered, with huge potential for industrial water filtration applications, difficulty in manufacturing processes and high production costs have to date severely limited their commercialisation.

Over the past 18 months, Clean TeQ and Ionic have successfully developed a process to manufacture high purity graphene oxide that can be applied to a membrane support to create a highly efficient graphene nanofiltration membrane (GO-Membrane). Significantly, the GO-Membrane manufacturing process has been demonstrated on commercial scale industrial equipment.

Read: Clean TeQ to promote water treatment technology in China

Graphene oxide-based membranes have the potential to deliver significant benefits due to their high water flux, tunability and non-fouling properties. The advantages of the membranes over existing commercially available membrane technologies include increased flow, better water recovery and lower energy costs.

The joint venture will be owned 75 per cent by Clean TeQ and 25 per cent by Ionic, and will be led by Peter Voigt, Clean TeQ’s founder and CTO. Once established, joint venture will be focused on achieving commercial scale production of graphene oxide and GO-Membranes, as well as water purification modules targeted at wholesale and retail customers.

“We are excited by the potential to apply the Monash/Ionic graphene oxide based technologies in the water markets in which we are active.   The partnership with Ionic reflects our strategy to continuously improve and enhance our technology platform by partnering with groups who have developed complimentary technologies,” Voigt said.

Ionic is a commercialisation partner of Monash University, with a framework agreement covering a range of graphene-based technologies being developed by Monash. Over the past 6 years, Ionic together with a research team at Monash University has been developing several graphene-based technologies with potential in the application of water treatment and filtration.

Ionic Industries’ managing director, Simon Savage, said the new partnership represents further validation of Ionic Industries’ graphene-based technologies.

“For a successful company like Clean TeQ to invest in our technology, to explore  ways of incorporating it into new commercial products, is an enormous show of confidence in our work over the past 6 years and in the work of our brilliant research team.  It represents a great step toward commercialisation of our technologies,” Savage said.