Bulk Reverse Osmosis – What Is It and How Does It Work?
One of the best water treatments available to suburban residents is reverse osmosis. In a large-scale application, its main purpose is desalination, which is the removal of salt in seawater to make it drinkable. Other companies utilise it for recycling, water waste treatment and even as a source of energy.
It’s undeniable that when it comes to producing clean water, reverse osmosis is the way to go. The question is – how does it actually work?
How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?
The “reverse” part is clear enough; the osmosis is the complicated part. It is defined as the passage of water through a semipermeable membrane that traps dissolved solutes. These solutes are usually pesticides, nitrogen, oestrogens, aluminium and other chemicals. In addition, the membrane’s pores are so small that it’s able to trap the minutest particles that could contaminate your drinking water.
The accepted model for reverse osmosis in homes is commonly broken down into six steps. The first three parts of the filtration process do the bulk of the work, removing contaminants such as rust, calcium carbonate, organic chemicals and chlorine.
The next step is the actual reverse osmosis, where all the previously mentioned foreign matters are blocked. Once the water has passed RO, it proceeds to the carbon post-filter, where it thwarts all remaining chemicals. It then proceeds to the tank for storage. The process repeats itself until you fill the entire tank for a supply of clean drinking water.
But what about bulk reverse osmosis?
Bulk Reverse Osmosis
Bulk reverse osmosis is about the technologies, and associated equipment, involved in the filtration of bulk flows of water — so it will not cover treatment by sedimentation, nor will it cover separations involving organic liquids, nor the filtration of aqueous solutions such as occur throughout industry (like sugar syrups or brines).
iltration processes involved
The objective of the filtration processes used in water treatment is mainly to achieve the separation of solid particles that are suspended in the water to the extent, perhaps, of 0.5% by weight or as little as 10 mg/l (10 ppm), particles that are as large as grit or sand (say 1 mm in diameter or more) or as small as colloidal organic materials, or pathogens such as bacteria or viruses (say 0.1 μm or less).
In addition to this primary purpose, the filtration system may address the removal of oil droplets from suspension in water, or the removal of the colloidal or large dissolved organic molecules that are usually responsible for unpleasant tastes or odours or colour in the water, or the removal of the large dissolved ions from inorganic salts responsible for causing hardness in the water, or, finally, the removal of the smaller ions causing salinity (or, more correctly, in this case the removal of pure water from residual brine).
It is, of course, true that other processes besides filtration may also occur during the basic separation process, or as part of the overall purification system, such as disinfection (as with the legionella bacillus in cooling water treatment, or the long term prevention of the growth of bacteria in drinking water). It may also be important to remove dissolved gases from the product water, as with oxygen removal from boiler feed water.
While the process remains largely the same, bulk reverse osmosis requires far more equipment and processing when compared to household RO systems which treat “already-treated” water, i.e. – the municipal supply to our homes. Aquazania is proud to engage this technology within our 9-step purification process.
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