Graphene oxide program for environmental applications receives funding

Dr. Aicheng Chen (middle) holds a dispersed Zenyatta GO sample with Dr. Boopathi Sidhureddy (Postdoctoral Fellow) right and Antony Raj Thiruppathi (PhD student) left, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

A program to scale-up the conversion of graphite into graphene oxide which can be used to desalinate water is receiving grant funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

Water used for drinking and agriculture is under a global risk with a projected 40 per cent shortfall between forecast demand and supply by 2030. A graphene oxide (GO) membrane exhibits some unique properties and may drastically improve the efficiency of desalination and water remediation.

GO and modified GO may facilitate the development of high-performance electrochemical sensors to effectively detect and monitor these pollutants. This could address threats to human health and pollution due to the increase of various toxic metal ions entering the environment.

Zenyatta Ventures Ltd., recently announced that its scaled up production method of the company’s graphite to graphene oxide for applications in water remediation, electrochemical sensors, supercapacitors and Li-ion batteries would receive additional funding. The money will allow a team of scientists under the direction of Dr. Aicheng Chen at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., to carry out this advanced nanomaterial research.

Zenyatta’s Albany Graphite Deposit.

“We found Zenyatta’s high-purity Albany graphite to be an ideal material for the production of graphene oxide and subsequent environmental and energy application development,” said Chen.

The focus of their research work will be on scaling up production methods for Zenyatta’s graphite to GO, a first critical step towards commercialization of the technology.

The OCE VIP II $100,000 grant will be administered over two years and Zenyatta will be contributing $50,000 in cash and $60,000 in-kind support to the project. This OCE grant work will be a continuation of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (“NSERC”) Collaborative Research and Development (“CRD”) grant awarded to Chen, a professor of chemistry and Canada Research Chair in materials and environmental chemistry in 2015.

Zenyatta is developing its unique Albany graphite deposit in Ontario. The company said it has discovered the largest and “very rare ultra-high-purity graphite deposit” in Northern Ontario called the Albany Graphite Deposit.

Zenyatta’s deposit contains the “largest and only high purity hydrothermal (volcanic in nature)
graphite mineralization being developed in the world,” the company said.

The company’s highly crystalline (Igneous-type) graphite deposit is situated 30 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway, power line and natural gas pipeline near the communities of Constance Lake First Nation and Hearst.

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