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Energy-efficient reverse osmosis units that adapt to changes in feed water composition

Standard commercial and industrial reverse osmosis systems have certain disadvantages such as a low recovery rates, relatively high electrical power demand and the need of a very consistent feed water composition. Watercore Our energy-efficient reverse osmosis systems have been designed to overcome all those challenges
Energy-efficient reverse osmosis systems

Table of Contents

1. How reverse osmosis systems operate

Desalination is the process of removing salts from water. There are several methods of desalination; however reverse osmosis is the most energy efficient.

Osmosis is a natural process where water flows across a semi-permeable membrane between two solutions of different concentration, in order to establish an equilibrium concentration . The semi-permeable membrane only allows passage of water.

Industrial reverse osmosis units operate the natural osmosis process in the opposite direction. Using pressure as a driving force, water is moved across a semi-permeate membrane that blocks the passage of salts. The result is potable water on one side of the osmotic membrane, and very salty water (brine) on the other side, where the pressure is applied.

2. Inconveniences of tradicional reverse osmosis systems

  • Only a small proportion of water is recovered. A high % (known as concentrate or rejection) needs to be discarded and sent to drain. A typical Reverse Osmosis unit applied to bore water will produce 60% desalinated water and 40% reject water.
  • It is a very power-demanding technology
  • Feed water composition and salinity have to be very stable and consistent. The reverse osmosis units are set-up for a certain feed water composition and cannot adapt to changes in the feed water characteristics.

In general, low recoveries and manually operated technology play against energy-efficiency in traditional reverse osmosis systems.

3. Why reverse osmosis plants should be tolerant to feedwater composition changes

Is is common that Reverse Osmosis systems are used to desalinate ground or surface water.

Ground and surface water composition is related to the chemistry of the geologic formations through which the water passes. Rainwater filtering through the ground picks up nutrients and minerals, depending on the composition of the soil and seasonal rain can significantly modify the water quality .

As a consequence, any Reverse Osmosis system used for ground water treatment must be ready for significant feed water quality fluctuations.

4. How Watercore reverse osmosis units are different

  • Watercore SMART-CONTROLLED RO units have been designed to increase the recovery rate to a values as high a 85%. This way only a small proportion of water will need to be disposed.
  • Our SMART-CONTROLLED reverse osmosis units are capable of adapting to any change in the feed water composition and salinity.
  • This adaptability allow the pumps, which represent 95% of the electrical power demand of this units, to work in the most efficient operation point with typical 30% energy savings.
  • All the factors above make Watercore plants the most energy-efficient reverse osmosis systems in the market.

5. Other benefits of Watercore energy-efficient reverse osmosis systems

  • Plug-and-play functionality for small RO units and reduced commissioning time for large-scale systems.
  • MODBUS communication available for integration with other centralised industrial monitoring and control systems.
  • Easy control interface
  • Information and alarms sent by email.

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