Desalination Growing Worldwide: Reverse Osmosis Membranes from Toray, Hydranautics, DOW FilmTec, GE, and Koch Leading the Way.
As the worldwide need for fresh, pure water increases an effective and cost efficient desalination process becomes more important. The process known as reverse osmosis (RO) may yield the answer that both people and companies need. This method of water purification has been around for decades, but has never been cost effective until recently. With dwindling fresh water resources, companies such as Toray, Hydranautics, FilmTec, GE, and Koch, have been developing reverse osmosis membranes that are more efficiency and cost effective. This makes saltwater reverse osmosis (SWRO) systems the leading solution to this global problem.
People need clean, pure water for consumption and industry needs pure water to facilitate processes such as mining and manufacturing. The decreased costs and increased efficiency in reverse osmosis membranes has allowed people all over the world to implement SWRO systems in order to generate the clean water that is required. Much of the innovation that has come from improving the reverse osmosis membranes has come from investment by industries, such as mining and oil refineries, throughout the middle east. Governments are also getting onboard as Australia, China, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States are increasing their desalinated water production. According to the International Desalination Association, during a recent 10-year period (2001-2011) the industrial capacity for desalinated water expanded 267 percent. Using reverse osmosis membranes from Toray, Hydranautics, FilmTec, GE, and Koch, the desalinated water total capacity is now above 6.7 billion cubic meters (237 billion cubic feet) a day.
There are over 16,000 desalination plants operating worldwide today, with Saudi Arabia being the nation with the most facilities. More plants using reverse osmosis membranes are emerging online each day as the desalination industry as a whole is growing by about 15 percent a year. The increased investment which has spurred innovation by companies such as Toray with their advanced polymer technology, Hydranautics, FilmTec, GE, and Kosh, has effectively brought the price of a cubic meter of desalinated water from $3 (in the 90’s) to about 50 cents today. As the availability of fresh water becomes scarce, the innovations in desalination technologies through the use of advanced reverse osmosis membranes will afford pure clean water for everyone.
The need for pure water will only increase as the global population increases and the fresh water reserves are consumed. Innovations in desalination technology, such as reverse osmosis membranes, are quickly becoming a viable way to solve this problem. The growth of the desalination technology has been spurred by industry and people can now benefit from these advancements for processing saline water into pure drinking water. As companies such as Toray, Hydranautics, FilmTec with their high flux capacity, GE, and Koch, continue to innovate on the various RO components, including reverse osmosis membranes, the cost of a cubic meter of desalinated water will continue to decline.