Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) is a filtration technique that relies on membrane technology. Membrane technology is essentially an engineering approach in which a substance passes through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane acts as a filter that blocks out any molecules that are bigger than the concentration gradient. Reverse osmosis is often used in conjunction with other pre-treatment and post-treatment filtration process to produce high purity water.
The process of reverse osmosis eliminates 99% of organic matter, minerals, and other such particles. One of the reasons reverse osmosis is so popular throughout so many industries is because it is cost-efficient in comparison to other filtration methods.
For example, thermal separation practices such as distillation rely on using heat manipulation techniques to separate out the permeate water from the leftover residue. Comparatively, reverse osmosis requires no such energy generation, making it a much less expensive filtration method. The benefits do not stop there, though. Due to a lesser energy footprint required to utilize it, reverse osmosis is also more environmentally friendly.
The most obvious application of reverse osmosis is for industries that require water that is in essence, pure. Numerous industries today rely on high purity water such as healthcare, research laboratories, industrial boilers, food and beverage processing, cosmetics, pharmaceutical production, seawater desalination, computer hardware, and many other applications. Many times high purity water can be produced on-site from the raw water or municipal water supply by removing impurities through multiple filtration processes.
Reverse osmosis removes nearly everything that could provide even a hint of a taste— including minerals that are absolutely harmless to consume. The food and beverage industry was quick to adopt reverse osmosis to provide the best possible base ingredient to build their flavors from. This is a colossal factor when it comes to quality control and cost to maintain that quality. Beverages such as beer benefit greatly from utilizing the method of reverse osmosis to control a specific beer’s unique flavor.
In the steam boiler industry, reverse osmosis is often used to provide high-purity boiler feedwater. Blowdown occurs when the boiler takes water from the supply that has high dumps of solids. Reverse osmosis provides clean feedwater reducing the frequency of blowdown due to the lower level of impurities in the water. Uniform concentrations maintained at permissible levels in the boiler water result in less water demand, lower cost of processing water, reducing the cost of blowdown water waste treatment, fuel consumption, and chemical treatment requirements. The R.O. process also benefits the purified steam output by the boiler, which is used to heat homes and facilities, maintain industrial process temperatures, along with many other applications.
Recently, reverse osmosis has been used in various areas of the medical industry for processing water. One of these uses is for dialysis in medical facilities. Dialysate solution must be very pure—considering it comes into contact with the patient’s blood. In addition to dialysis, the filtration method is used in the creation of prescription drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Industrial Fluid Management (IFM), INC., is an innovator of water cycle technologies. We work with only the best water filtration systems for water and wastewater management. We are experts in the application and operations of membrane technologies giving access to filtration methods such as Reverse Osmosis to Microfiltration. IFM strongly believes that clean water is our lifeline—we are in the business of saving the world through our unique offerings. If you need a quality filtration system or help with other water or wastewater technologies, please contact us here.