BALTIMORE, March 19 (UPI) -- A molecular filtration material developed by Lockheed Martin for desalinating sea water has been given a U.S. patent, the company reports.
Perforene is a grapheme membrane with holes that are 1 nanometer or less. It traps sodium, chlorine and other ions from sea water and other sources. The membrane is 1 atom thick.
Lockheed said it is more effective and less costly than standard reverse osmosis systems for producing potable water.
"Access to clean drinking water is going to become more critical as the global population continues to grow and we believe that this simple and affordable solution will be a game-changer for the industry," said Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin.
"The Perforene filtration solution is just one example of Lockheed Martin's efforts to apply some of the advanced materials that we have developed for our core markets, including aircraft and spacecraft, to global environmental and economic challenges."
The Perforene membrane can also be tailored to other applications, such as capturing minerals, by changing the size of the holes in the membrane.
The company is developing processes that will allow the material to be produced at scale to commercialize the material.