How Reverse Osmosis Might Save the Water Crisis

Climate change impacts fresh water in several ways. The short-term increase in freshwater due to melting glaciers and high precipitation events in tropical regions may gradually overrun and degrade streams, resulting in freshwater deficits. Freshwater in such areas will continue to deplete due to the hotter, drier air on the equator brought on by climate change. To help stop this alarming trend, read on to learn about how reverse osmosis might save the water crisis.

Reverse Osmosis To Save the Day

Reverse osmosis is one of the main methods used to desalinate saltwater. In reverse osmosis, a semipermeable membrane has clean water on one side and saltwater on the other. The semipermeable membrane's pores are then forced open, allowing water to pass through to the pure water side against the natural osmotic pressure coming from the saltwater side. Large salt particles remain on the saltwater side of the semipermeable membrane because they cannot pass through it. Reverse osmosis can desalinate saltwater to provide potable drinking water or purified wastewater at the local or regional level.

What Are the Advantages of This Technology?

Reverse osmosis is unique from other methods of water purification due to its various benefits and ability to access large water sources. More drinking water comes from reverse osmosis than other desalination processes. Other processes, such as boiling saltwater to collect and condense pure steam, need up to three times as much seawater. The best reverse osmosis systems, on the other hand, may provide yields of over 90 percent. Reverse osmosis systems are relatively energy-efficient since they don’t need a phase shift.

Are There Any Drawbacks to This Technology?

When analyzing energy usage and output alone, reverse osmosis may seem like the most effective and cost-effective desalination process, but there are a number of significant disadvantages one must take into account. Reverse osmosis requires chemical pretreatment of saltwater to prevent severe breakdown or "fouling" of the semipermeable membrane. Ask any home water filtration company, and they’ll tell you that pretreatment adds labor expenditures, high-priced chemicals, and time to the reverse osmosis process. Solids will continue to build up on the membrane surface, decreasing the membrane's ability to filter out particles and create safe drinking water, even after pretreatment makes the feed solution more compatible with the membrane.

We hope you have enjoyed our recap of how reverse osmosis might save the water crisis. Reverse osmosis has the potential to provide a new method for producing potable drinking water, which is a growing need. Reverse osmosis is a possible alternative for supplying drinking water on a bigger scale in the future due to the incomparably large volume of clean water it generates.