Ishani KHURANA, PhD Student in Synthesis of Graphene Based Materials for the Removal of Water Pollutants (India)

Ishani Khurana identifies the treatment and management of wastewater as a topic which demands a sustainable solution. In her research she aims to study the removal of toxic nitro organics which cause wastewater decontamination.


Research focus: synthesis of graphene based composites for the removal of water pollutants

Energy, the environment, food and water are the topics that need to be put on a global agenda. Ishani sees this of particular interest to those countries, which are already affected by the ramifications of water pollution. The exponential increase of the global population leads to an increasing demand of water and, at the same time, water quality is in decline. In India, where Ishani has her roots, water scarcity and droughts are increasingly common and rivers are being polluted by the discharge of untreated sewage and organic pollutants. Limited access to safe water has long-term impacts on health, education and livelihoods. It is because of this that Ishani has dedicated herself to the study of wastewater management, with the intention of finding sustainable solutions.

Ishani is investigating the synthesis of graphene oxide, reduced graphene oxide and graphene based nanocomposites with metals. Following this, she will be examining wastewater decontamination and toxic nitro organics. Through her research, she aims to remove those toxic nitro organics, such as dyes and explosives. Therefore, she has developed a customised graphene filter that efficiently removes dye from contaminated water. Another part of her research is converting these water pollutants into less toxic and useful compounds. Ultrathin graphene-based water-separation membranes have been used in the field of water treatment and Ishani aims to transfer her research findings into a reusable, portable and also cost-effective graphene-based membrane device that will efficiently decontaminate water.

In the face of an increasing global population, water shortages and knock-on effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and landscape functions, the maintenance of sustainable supplies of clean water will be imperative for the wellbeing of societies. The jury especially appreciated Ishani’s sustainable approach, which aims to decontaminate water by using catalysts which are generated from plastic waste. Further efforts in promoting a green economy are essential and Ishani’s research is valuable in the pursuit of this goal.