Dr Michael Dong Han Seo has developed a process to convert waste biomass into a unique form of graphene with important applications in water treatment.
Patented as ‘GraphAir’, the concept sprang from Seo’s PhD research at the University of Sydney, where he investigated ways of transforming waste oil products into graphene, a unique material consisting of a single atomic layer of carbon. Graphene has many useful applications, including as supercapacitor electrodes.
Seo later duplicated the oil-to-graphene transformation using thermal processing at CSIRO, patenting the process in Australia and China.
Seo’s thermally synthesised graphene contains unique nano-channels, which only allow water to pass through. This means it can be used to purify contaminated water, desalinate seawater or separate water from oil. What’s more, the material’s surface doesn’t become clogged – no matter how contaminated the water. The research led to two publications in the journal Nature Communications.
Now at UTS, Seo is developing a robust membrane and simple treatment process to improve the way we recycle water and tackle future water shortages. Seo says his Australian university science education equipped him with a systematic thinking process and the curiosity to think about why things happen.
— Nadine Cranenburgh
Dr Michael Dong Han Seo. Bachelor of Science/Commerce (Hons) & PhD, University of Sydney. Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO. Research Scientist, CSIRO. Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UTS