Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Graphene oxide will help clean mining polluted waters

This will be made possible thanks to an agreement signed between the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) and Spanish firm Bio-Pharma Chemicals.

Bogotá D. C., 02 de febrero de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN–

Signing of the project which will assess the capabilities of graphene oxide to capture radioactive material.

Fracking is polluting the water resources.

Meeting to sign the agreement between UNal and BioPharma.

Jaime Aguirre, UNal Dean of the Faculty of Sciences.

Pedro Mancebo, General Director of BioPharma.

Professor Fernando Cristancho, project coordinator.

Through this initiative they hope, on the mid-term, to solve the radioactive pollution issues caused by hydraulic fracturing (also known as hydrofracturing or fracking) used for unconventional gas extraction.

Taking into account that once mining begins, water turns toxic and the goal of this alliance is to neutralize its effect. To offset this scenario UNal and Bio-Pharma Chemicals joined forces in a project that will take 18 months and will be headed by the Faculty of Sciences’ Department of Physics.

UNal will contribute its knowledge and human talent and Bio-Pharma will provide its graphene oxide production capabilities, which help to block the polluting particles.

Graphene is a substance formed by pure carbon with atoms disposed in regular hexagonal pattern and similar to graphite but in a sheet of one atom thick. It is very light as a 1 sq. meter sheet weighs only 0.77 milligrams. It is also considered 200 times stronger than steel and its density is similar to that of carbon fiber and five time lighter than steel.

Since its discovery in 2004 by 2010 Physics Nobel Prize laureates Drs. Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim, many things have been said of the potential of this material for different environmental applications, such as water desalinization, energy storage, hydrogen fuel production and as an air decontaminant.

According to UNal Professor Fernando Cristancho, the material developed Bio-Pharma is more efficient that the one they were using and they may use it in the coming years to decontaminate radioactive materials produced by oil, gold, and copper extraction, among others”.

In face of this interinstitutional alliance, the General Director of Bio-Pharma Chemicals, Pedro Mancebo said this agreement represents an important scientific advancement for both parties as UNal is pioneer in research and education thanks to its academic personnel. “We are convinced that this project will have a bearing on the industry, the environment and society as a whole,” he added.

Furthermore Jaime Aguirre the UNal Dean of the Faculty of Sciences highlighted that the agreement, by means of private sector companies, strengthens the research groups of the university.

Bio-Pharma Chemicals is a firm incepted in 1999 in Spain and devoted to R&D projects as well as in hospital and industrial disinfection. Besides two years ago they began to approach graphene oxide production as the chemical element of the future.

(Por: Fin/GAC/DMH/APBL
)
N.° 25

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