Can graphene and graphene oxide materials revolutionise desalination processes?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


With limited resources as a driver, the search for novel materials for improved desalination processes has been a major component of water research in recent years. Graphene and its derivatives are one such promising material. Graphene is a 2D material, which exhibits remarkable strength and durability, has a very high specific surface area, is easily modified and has high thermal and electrical conductivity. As a result, it is a candidate material for a remarkable range of desalination applications, including in membranes for separation processes, direct solar thermal desalination and electrolytic desalination processes. This review paper describes the background and properties of interest for desalination processes and reviews the recent literature for graphene compounds used in membrane processes (including reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, forward osmosis, membrane distillation, pervapouration, electrodialysis), capacitive deionisation and solar desalination. Overall, high permeability combined with high salt rejection compared with conventional materials for these applications, suggest that these materials could potentially revolutionise desalination if they can be produced at commercial scales at competitive costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114852
StatePublished - Mar 15 2021


  • Capacitive deionisation
  • Desalination
  • Electrodialysis
  • Graphene
  • Graphene oxide
  • Membrane distillation
  • Nanofiltration
  • Pervapouration
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Solar desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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