Reverse Osmosis is essentially a process of separating solutes from a liquid using a semipermeable membrane. It was originally utilized to filter sea water, and achieved success in 1950’s by scientists at the University of Florida and the University of California Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the level of care and money needed to perform such a function was not commercially viable. However, John Cadotte, of FilmTec Corporation patented a membrane with particularly high flux and low salt passage, the patent faced scrutiny and was the subject of litigation. By the end of 2001, about 15,000 desalination plants utilize reverse osmosis every day.
Reverse Osmosis Uses
Reverse Osmosis is utilized by the food industry, household drinking purification systems, larger scale water recycling plants, and just about any other industry that uses water. Even portable reverse osmosis water processors are used by travelers or residents of rural areas where clean water is far from accessible. Some travelers on long sailing voyages, or journeys to third world countries where clean water is not readily available.
Mineral water and bottled water provides the most comprehensive purifying process, employing a highly powerful ultra violet light or ozone to prevent microbiological contamination. Regulation usually allows for some minor imperfections, whereas bottled water purports to completely decontaminate the drinking water.
Without Reverse Osmosis water recycling options would be severely limited, and water shortages would be the norm for cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles. Reverse Osmosis eliminates minerals and sediments from the drinking water, and takes multiple treatments to completely distill the major impurities from the drinking water. Reverse Osmosis can also be used to clean effluent and brackish groundwater. Reverse Osmosis is generally a low energy endeavor, regulated mainly by high pressure pumps. The total recovery of water depends on various factors, including membrane size, temperature, and operating pressure.