The meaning and understanding of Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a technology that is used to remove a majority of contaminants from water by pushing the water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane.

To understand the process of reverse osmosis you must first understand the natural process of Osmosis. Osmosis is a naturally occurring phenomenon and an important procedure in nature.

So, for example, if you take a container filled with low saltwater and another with a high salt concentration and if they are separated by a semi-permeable membrane, then the water with the low salt concentration begins to migrate towards the water container with the higher salt concentration. This is called Osmosis.

The process

Reverse Osmosis, as the names suggest, is a process of Osmosis in reverse. Although, Osmosis occurs naturally without the requirement of energy, to reverse the process of Osmosis you need to apply energy to the more saline solution.

A reverse osmosis membrane is a semi-permeable membrane that allows the passage of water molecules but not the dissolved salts, organics, bacteria and pyrogens. However, you need to ‘push’ the water through the Reverse Osmosis membrane by applying pressure that is greater than the naturally occurring osmotic pressure in order to de-ionize water in the process, allowing pure water through while holding back a majority of contaminants.

How RO works

Reverse Osmosis works by using a high-pressure pump to increase the pressure on the salt side of the RO and force the water across the semi-permeable RO membrane, leaving almost all of dissolved salts behind in the reject stream. The amount of pressure needed is dependent on the salt concentration of the feed water. The more concentrated the feed water, the more pressure is required to overcome the osmotic pressure.

The water streams that carry pure water is called permeate water. The water stream that carries the concentrated contaminants which did not pass through the RO membrane is called the reject stream.

As the feed water enters the RO membrane, the water molecules pass through the membrane. The salts and other contaminants are not allowed to pass and are discharged to drains. The water that makes it through the RO membrane is treated and usually have around 95% to 99% of the dissolved salts removed from it.

The good and the bad of RO

Reverse Osmosis can remove up to 95% of the dissolved salts (ions), organics, bacteria, viruses, pathogens and other micro-particles from the water. RO is very efficient when it comes to treating surface and groundwater.

The main drawback of RO technology is that it wastes a lot of water. Conventional RO purifiers make 30 % of pure water and 70 % water is wasted.

The solution

To address these concerns of wastage of water, Ion Exchange has come out with innovative technology and launched the world’s first High Recovery water purifier under its flagship brand called the Eco RO.

The product is energy-efficient, environment-friendly and saves more than 80% of water. Moreover, it is the world’s only RO water system with 70% pure water recovery.