Industrial Water Equipments guide to Reverse Osmosis
Over the years Reverse Osmosis has become popular choice for both domestic and commercial filtration, this increase has been partly due to the increasing advancements in technology and affordability of not only in the reverse osmosis units themselves but also replacement parts such as the RO membranes. Our guide will hopefully dispel some of the myths and help to answer some of the more common questions we are asked regarding this method of filtration.
What is reverse osmosis
Revere Osmosis filtration is the opposite of a naturally occurring process known as osmosis, whereby a solution passes through a semi permeable membrane to a higher concentrated solution. Osmosis takes place throughout the natural world including plants where osmosis is used to extract nutrients from within the soil in which they are placed.
When pressure is greater on the higher concentration side of the water flow then the natural process of osmosis can be reversed, hence the term reverse osmosis. Instead of dilute solution passing through a membrane to a higher concentration (osmosis). Concentrated water (your incoming water feed) is pressurised though the use of a pump and forced through a housing containing a semi permeable membrane, water molecules pass through this membrane which becomes your clean filtered water and is referred to as ‘permeate’, which leaves behind a solution containing all the contaminants too large in molecule size to pass through the membrane. This concentrated solution, referred to as the ‘concentrate’ is then passed down to drain.
Reverse Osmosis as an effective method of filtration and is successfully used over a wide variety of industries where high quality water, free of contaminants is paramount and delivered at a consistent level of quality, from distilleries to laboratories reverse osmosis has been the filtration method of choice.
What does reverse osmosis remove
In general terms when used as a standalone filtration method reverse osmosis has the ability to remove an extremely high percentage of a vast spectrum of contaminants including Calcium, Magnesium, Nitrates, Lead and Sodium as well as bacteria and viruses such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli and Norovirus, in fact any particle larger than a water molecule won’t have the ability to pass through an ro system.
For industrial applications and dependent on your water quality requirements reverse osmosis can be used in conjunction with additional filtration methods such as a water softeners or carbon filters to continuously deliver filtered water to any specific level of quality.
Bear in mind however, reverse osmosis is not selective in it’s filtration process, therefore it isn’t an ideal solution to target specific contaminants, for example if you have a need to remove calcium from your incoming water supply then a water softener which is specifically designed to produce soft water is a much better choice.
How long does a reverse osmosis membrane last
Reverse Osmosis membranes are able to last for many years without ever needing to be changed, however the longevity of a membrane is largely dependent on the quality of water your reverse osmosis water filter is being fed with. The higher the contaminants contained within your feed water the harder your membrane(s) have to work, and therefore the shorter their lifespan.
In recent years membrane technology has significantly advanced leading to a dramatic reduction in the cost of replacement membranes. This reduction has made replacement much more cost effective, typically a membrane which might have cost thousands just a few years ago would now only cost hundreds to replace. There are ways however in which you can protect your investment and prolong your membrane(s) life.
A standard practice with reverse osmosis is the implementation of pre filtration. Depending on your water quality a number of pre filtration stages should be considered, this can be determined by a simple test of your incoming water feed. Following water testing our team of engineers can advise you of the correct action to take when considering reverse osmosis and pre filtration. One of the most significant chemical elements which needs to be removed from your water is Chlorine. Even trace elements of Chlorine can lead to a dramatic reduction in permeate quality and ultimately premature failure of your membrane(s). If Chlorine is detected then installation of a simple Activated Carbon pre filter will eradicate the damaging effects of this chemical.
Will reverse osmosis remove salt
The process of removing salt from water is known as desalination, and yes a reverse osmosis water filter is more than capable of performing this process, in fact RO was originally invented to do this very task. However desalination requires the use of specialised Sea Water reverse osmosis membranes, therefore it’s important to understand and specify your intended application prior to purchase.
Industrial Water Equipment are able to modify any of our standard range of ro’s and customise them to suit your specific requirements, we also have to ability to retro-fit or upgrade any of our reverse osmosis systems to fit in with the changing needs of our customers.