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WATCH: Scientists turn sea water into drinking water

It's the new discovery made right here in the North West - which could help solve the world's shortage of clean drinking water. Scientists working with the material graphene think it could be used to effectively sieve the salt out of sea water and make it drinkable.

They say that could mean millions of people across the globe given access to a regular supply of clean water - combating drought, disease and famine.

  • Watch Ashley Derricott's report:

World's 'most hi-tech dress' unveiled in Manchester

Coco Chanel fashion from her own wardrobe - black dress and matching three quarter length coat Credit: PA Images

It's another world first for our region. Maybe you've heard of graphene - an amazingly tough yet flexible new material that's being developed by scientists at Manchester University.

Well today the first piece of clothing in the world made of graphene was unveiled - a little black dress. And as Sarah Rogers now reports, it's a long way from the original designed by Coco Chanel almost a century ago:

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Manchester leads the way in graphene membrane research

Chancellor George Osborne toured labs at the University of Manchester where he saw research into the use of Graphene in October 2011. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

University of Manchester graphene researchers have been awarded a £3.5m funding boost that could bring desalination plants, safer food packaging and enhanced disease detection closer to reality.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the research focuses on membranes that could provide solutions to worldwide problems; from stopping power stations releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, to detecting the chemical signals produced by agricultural pests.

Wonder material graphene was first isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov. Their work earned them the 2010 Nobel prize for Physics.

Graphene is the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, and has the potential to revolutionise a huge number of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips.

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