Brackish Water Treatment Becoming more Affordable with New Membrane Technology from Toray, Hydranautics, and FilmTec.
Brackish water treatment using new reverse osmosis membranes is quickly becoming a go to method for purifying water for human consumption. With new membrane technology being developed by Toray, Hydranautics and FilmTec, it has never been more affordable or viable to generate pure water using brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) systems. This has global implications for creating clean drinking water in both a cost effective and sustainable way. Municipal water treatment facilities all over the U.S. are now using or considering implementing brackish water treatment systems that use the latest technology in reverse osmosis membranes developed by Toray, Hydranautics, and FilmTec. It is likely that BWRO systems will supply a significant portion of their water requirements as access to fresh water becomes more difficult. As this technology becomes more efficient and more cost effective expect more municipal water treatment facilities and countries around the world will implement customized BWRO systems.
Brackish water is water that contains more dissolved salt than fresh water but less than salt water; usually measured in the .5-30 g/l of salt range. Most forms of brackish groundwater are easily handled by brackish water treatment methods using the latest reverse osmosis membrane technology. Brackish water is also found in estuaries and caused by human activities such as: dikes, coastal flooding, and waste from salinity gradient power processes. It is important that industry properly utilizes brackish water treatment protocols as it can be damaging to the environment. The new BWRO systems can effectively rehabilitate this water for human consumption or responsible use in industry.
The recent technological advances in reverse osmosis membranes have made brackish water treatment more favorable for municipal water treatment facilities. The advances have rendered the BWRO process more efficient, while lowering capital costs and reducing energy usage. Where fresh water used to cost 50 cents per thousand gallons, it is now closer to $3-4 per thousand gallons due to demand (having to ship it from up to 100 miles away) and rising energy costs. Saline or brackish water treatment is now as low as $2-3 per thousand gallons for oceanside municipalities or $4-6 per thousand gallons for the inland organizations. A combination of rising fresh water costs and technological advances in reverse osmosis membrane technology has made BWRO an economically viable option that many municipal water treatment facilities are embracing.
Not only are brackish water treatment systems more cost effective from a capital standpoint but also from a working efficiency point of view. The new reverse osmosis membranes developed by Toray, Hydranautics, and FilmTec, are more durable, have a higher rejection of total dissolved solids (TDS), and higher flow rates. These improvements have increased the longevity of the reverse osmosis membrane at the same time as increasing the purity and speed of the overall BWRO system. Although it is unlikely to be the primary source of most municipal water treatment facilities, brackish water treatment is a cost effective way to supplement the growing demand for clean water.
Energy costs will continue to rise and the use of BWRO systems will become even more cost effective. A resource as finite as fresh water demands that innovation in water filtration and purification techniques improve and companies such as Toray, Hydranautics, and FilmTec, will be leading the way. Brackish water treatment is a great way to harness the advancement in reverse osmosis membranes to provide clean pure water for both drinking and industrial use.