The most promising application is seawater desalination. With holes as small as one nanometer in diameter, the membranes would trap sodium, chlorine and other ions, while allowing water molecules to pass through easily.
Performance expectations (relative to the use of reverse osmosis membranes) include:
- Up to 5x increase in flux across the membrane
- Fouling reduction of up to 80%
- Approximately 100x less energy and pressure required. (This claim was reported by Reuters. Lockheed Martin's current product datasheet predicts a more modest reduction in energy consumption: 10 - 20%.)
In addition to the desalination industry, Lockheed Martin plans to market Perforene variants in the following fields:
- Waste water treatment
- Pharmaceutical material harvest and purification
- Energy/power generation
- Food and beverage
As of February 2015, Lockheed Martin's development work continues, but no products are available for purchase.
Bruce Sterling commented for Wired, "if this graphene vaporware actually worked out in practice, we’d have to forgive Lockheed Martin for everything else they’ve ever done — plus maybe even give them Nobels and McMansion palaces in former deserts."
The Water Desalination Report writes that Lockheed Martin's claims that it had developed a membrane that will desalinate water “at a fraction of the cost of industry-standard RO systems” were "ridiculous and very premature."
- Alexander, David (13 March 2013). "Pentagon weapons-maker finds method for cheap, clean water". Reuters. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "PERFORENE™ MEMBRANE". Lockheed Martin Corporation. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Sterling, Bruce. "Lockheed Martin "Perforene"". Condé Nast. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Graphene membrane technology update". Media Analytics Ltd. Retrieved 22 July 2014.