Revolutionary membrane technology for industrial wastewater

Forward Osmosis

Forward Osmosis Technology is a remarkable new technology that removes difficult waste and pollutants from industrial waste streams. Furthermore it is used to concentrate various streams for different purposes (water or product recovery, energy recovery etc) at virtual no energy consumption.

  • Osmosis is a natural equilibrium process
  • Two liquids are seperated by a special proprietary membrane that allows only water to pass
  • Water passes from one chamber to the next by diffusion until the solids concentration on both sides of the membrane are equal

Forward osmosis

Forward Osmosis Membranes reject organics, minerals and other solids -similar to Reverse Osmosis (RO)- but resist typical fouling problems.

It is the process of two liquids seeking equilibrium that creates the "power" in Forward Osmosis. In the example above, the permeate side of the membrane contains a salt "draw" solution which has a higher osmotic potential than the dirty feed water on the other side of the FO membrane. That higher osmotic potential in the salt "draw" solution is the power source nature provides to drive the filtration process. The water moves through the membrane, is filtered in the provess and dilutes the higher concentration salt water on the permeate side.

Forward Osmosis enjoys several unique technological advantages:

  • FO overcomes fouling limitations inherent in pressure driven membrane seperations allowing proper filtration and concentration or difficult products and waste streams
  • FO can process feed streams; a source of dirty or polluted water containing high levels of suspended solids
  • In separations driven by hydraulic pressure (such as RO) all components of a feed stream are unselectively forced against the membrane surface
  • In FO, osmotic pressure, which is hydraulic ressure created by Osmosis as water passes through a semi-permeable membrane into a more concentrated stream, selectively draws molecules through the membrane avoiding membrane fouling and compaction
  • FO is a process normally occurring in nature that, when harnessed for water filtration and liquid transfer, required little or no electricty or external power source

In this example, the process of Reverse Osmosis (RO) is compared with forward Osmosis (FO). RO typically requires high pumping pressures, which require high energy usage to force the feed solution against a very tight membrane material and force the filtered water through the membrane to the clean water side. During that process all solutes and pollutants on the dirty water side are forced against the membrane material, under high pressure, which compunds RO's sensitivity to fouling and need for relatively clean feed streams. Conversely, FO operates at very low pressure, simply adequate to circulate the fluids, and the natural osmotic pressure  in the draw solution pulls water through the membrane, leaving solids and foulants behind in the concentrated feed solution.

In summary, the FO process made possible the capture and duplication of a natural occurring process in nature turning it into a "Green" technology; a Green technology that is capable of solving many of the world's most difficult water filtration and recycling problems.

Personal Hydration Products:

This contains a water filtration system that consistently create a clean, safe drink from nearly any water source. It's not possible to know what type of local water our troops will encounter when deployed, but it is most often contaminated.

Three products were developed specifically with the Military forces in mind. The X-Pack, a rugged, 10 day water filter that can filter up to 54 fl. oz. (1.6 L) of drink per day, per charge. Over 80,000 X-Packs are fielded to US military personnel. The second product is the Expedition, an advanced backpack hydration system that is both a reservoir for potable water and an osmotic filtration system. The third is the HydroWell, a 5.3 gal (20 L) water can that provides up to 8 gal (30 L) of clean drink per day.

Forward Osmosis Technology

Forward Osmosis technology can be applied to:

  • Energy recovery out of wastewater
  • Dewatering of sludges
  • Oil & Gas Exploration
  • Algae Biofuels
  • Landfills
  • Chlor-Alkali
  • Food Processing
  • Methane Digesters
  • Nuclear Wastewater
  • Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR)

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