What Is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a special type of filtration that uses a semi-permeable, thin membrane with pores just small enough to pass pure water through while rejecting larger molecules such as dissolved salts (ions) and other impurities. RO is used to produce highly-purified water for drinking water systems, industrial boilers, pharmaceutical production, seawater desalination, food and beverage processing, cosmetics, and many other applications. It has been a recognized technology for more than a century, though it was not commercialized until the 1960s.
Types of Reverse Osmosis Systems
As a basic design, all RO units purify water by passing it through a thin, semi-permeable membrane to remove suspended and dissolved impurities and pollutants. Different types of RO systems and specs are required depending on your desired application. Factors that affect the functionality of your RO filtration system include flow, number of stages and membrane types, and pump pressures.
The rate at which your reverse osmosis system filters water is referred to as the flow. High-flow RO units produce the most purified water per day, while low-flow systems produce a much smaller amount. The amount of flow required for your application will depend on how much purified water you need access to on a daily basis.
Stages and Membrane Types
In addition to that semi-permeable membrane, Most RO systems feature other filtration stages to help further purify the water and protect the RO membrane from larger debris. Typically, RO systems feature three-stage, four-stage or five-stage filtration. The number of stages indicates how many filters and membranes the water passes through for purification.
A standard three-stage reverse osmosis system features three types of filters:
- A sediment filter that works to reduce larger particles like dirt and rust suspended in the water.
- A carbon filter that reduces VOCs and chlorine from the water as well as other smaller contaminants.
- A semi-permeable RO membrane that removes nearly all of the remaining impurities.
Systems with more stages feature additional carbon filters or other membranes. At Complete Water Solutions, we offer more than 43 types of membranes for RO filtration systems. As a general rule, more stages result in greater filtration and more purified water. Some RO systems include additional stages for other systems like deionization. These systems are typically referred to as RO/DI.
Greater pump pressure is required for applications that require RO systems to filter highly concentrated solutions. These solutions contain more contaminants, and the greater pressure allows the feed water to flow more effectively through the filtration systems and the RO membrane. For less contaminated water, less pump pressure is required because it passes through the membrane more easily.
Reverse Osmosis Applications
Reverse osmosis water filtration systems can be used to purify water for various commercial and industrial applications. The type of RO system you need for your application will depend on factors like the quality of your feedwater, the requirements for purified product water and the quantities of product water required.
Industrial Reverse Osmosis Applications
Industrial RO systems are ideal for industries that require purified water, such as:
- Hydroponic farming
- Power plants and boiler feedwater
- Dairy production
Many of these industries need the purest water to ensure their products are not contaminated with unintended pollutants. Reverse osmosis filtered water is also a way to protect other equipment from damages that can be caused by a buildup of water pollutants over time.
Commercial RO Systems
Reverse osmosis systems are also used in many commercial settings, such as the following, to provide purified drinking water, ingredient water and water for testing:
- Medical facilities like hospitals
- Food and beverage production
- Apartment complexes and residential buildings
- Metal finishing and plating
- Restaurants and bars
Specific types of RO systems are used for other applications. For example, desalination units use higher pressure pumps to push seawater through their membranes to remove the salt for applications like coastal municipalities and cruise ships. Brackish units filter water that is salty but less concentrated than seawater.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems
Benefits of Reverse Osmosis From Complete Water Solutions
View our Reverse Osmosis Equipment Specs in our online catalog →
Complete Water Solutions is equipped with top quality components designed for pure water applications. Reverse osmosis technology is used in many applications from desalination, process TDS/conductivity reduction, and providing high purity water. Reverse osmosis (RO) can be utilized in residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. As Wisconsin’s top water system company, we have years of experience with reverse osmosis water filtration systems.
Water purity is achieved through reverse osmosis by using applied pressure to the water, forcing it through a semi-permeable membrane that removes dissolved impurities, like chlorine, salt, or larger particles. RO systems can even remove heavy metals, like Arsenic, Lead, and Fluoride. After removal, these particles and pollutants are flushed away with wastewater, not stored. Maintenance is easy as cleaning/changing RO membranes, filters, and occasionally a system sanitization. This type of system creates an easy to use and easy to maintain option to achieve water purification.
When you purchase your RO equipment, parts and membranes from Complete Water Solutions, you have access to top-quality products and a team of trained professionals who can help you with any reverse osmosis system services or maintenance you may require. We can also repair or service systems from almost any reverse osmosis company or manufacturer regardless of where it was purchased.
Advantages of Reverse Osmosis
- Improved taste, odor, and appearance
- High effectiveness purifying process
- Removes pollutants
- Reduction in Conductivity & Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
- Reduces Water Hardness
- Low overall cost
- Alkalinity Reduction
Other water purification systems can reduce pollutants and, over time, can require massive disposal efforts. This means there is additional potential for contamination to occur if anything goes wrong with that type of system. When you use reverse osmosis purification systems instead, your water stays cleaner.
There are plenty of uses for reverse osmosis during both commercial and industrial processes. While everyone wants their water to be safe drinking water, and great tasting water, businesses need pure water to perform their best. Food Manufactures, medical labs, the pharmaceutical industry, and industrial cooling towers can all benefit from the consistently clear and clean water produced by the reverse osmosis process.
Reverse Osmosis Equipment and Leasing
For many industries, having purified water is a necessity to meet sanitation standards, but buying new equipment can be costly. At Complete Water Solutions, we offer lease opportunities on our purification and filtration systems. A lease on a commercial or industrial RO system will save you money if your facility does not require long-term filtration. We will train you and your workers on how to use the equipment, troubleshoot problems, and keep your water filtration system running. Your lease may even include spare parts and installation! For more information or to schedule your installation, get in touch with us today.