Reverse osmosis is the cornerstone of any industry where pure water is a must; whether it be the main product, as in drinking water and wash down applications or as a critical component in an overall process such as electronics manufacturing. Industrial reverse osmosis is generally identified with large scale operations that are dependent on the use of large quantities of pure water to be utilized in part, most, or all of their process. While there is no set definition of output or range of industrial reverse osmosis systems, it is generally considered somewhere between the low tens of thousands to upwards of several millions of gallons per day depending on the intended application.
The concept of reverse osmosis is as follows. There is a need for purification of water with a relatively high concentration of dissolved solids as related to the user’s application. To accomplish this purification, water is fed from the source through a pump to pressurize it. The pressurized water is then forced through a reverse osmosis element. The element is composed primarily of semi permeable membrane and other materials that facilitate the flow of water through this membrane. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through but rejects a percentage of salts, organics, pathogens and other unwanted contaminates. The flow of water at this point is split into two streams; good water and bad water or what is called permeate and concentrate water. The permeate stream is water that has passed through the semi permeable membrane within the reverse osmosis element. The concentrate stream is the water containing all of the undesirable content of the source water that has not passed through the membrane within the reverse osmosis element. The permeate water flows through the element and is delivered to the point of use. The concentrate water is generally discarded or stored for further treatment.
The quality and quantity of the treated water is dependent on different factors. While there are several units of measure to reflect the quality of the product water, it is usually measured in parts per millions of total dissolved solids remaining in the permeate water after treatment. This measurement is determined by the type of membrane element being used. There are no set parts per million measurement for each element but rather a percentage of the source water dissolved solids that were removed during the process. This is called percentage of rejection. Most membrane elements are rated between 95-99% rejection with differing product flows.
These flows are usually measured in gallons per minute or gallons per day. The flow is dependent on the type of membrane element being used, water quality, temperature, and other factors. Depending on an initial source water analysis, there are usually pretreatment components to most reverse osmosis systems to remove particulate matter, chemicals such as chlorine, silt, and organic matter, to name a few. Often post treatment of product water is employed by users to conform the final product to the individual need of the user.
There is a wide variety of applications for industrial reverse osmosis systems including drinking water production, municipalities, boiler water treatment, agricultural and green houses, electrical equipment manufacturing, etching and water jets, misters, car washes, medical and laboratory use etcetera. Industrial reverse osmosis systems, whether stand alone or as part of a larger treatment scheme, can be tailored to fit nearly any situation or purification need. Contact an AXEON Representative today to talk about the right solution for you at 800-320-4074.