New Water Treatment Technology Could Help Recycle Even Super Salty Waters
As the United States experiences a severe drought and water shortages become more common, scientists are searching for new ways to recycle even the saltiest waters into drinking water. Conventionally, reverse osmosis is the most efficient way to purify seawater and briny groundwater. But, in recent years, the salt content in water sources has increased, and traditional reverse osmosis cannot handle the super-salty waters produced. Thankfully, a new form of reverse osmosis, known as low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis, introduces a theoretical design that could treat even the saltiest water sources.
Water Shortages on the Rise
As climate change continues to create widespread changes, the US Southwest is for the first time experiencing a megadrought that not only impacts freshwater sources but also increases the salt levels in water supplies drastically. The shrinking Colorado River can no longer satiate the thirst of over 40 million US residents amid immense dry spells, and Lake Mead’s water level is dropping to record lows. In the meantime, the majority of the country’s wastewater goes untreated and unusable, accounting for 80% of the nation’s total water supply.
Introducing Low-Salt-Rejection Reverse Osmosis
Low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis is a theoretical design that holds the potential to recycle even super-salty waters into drinkable water. Scientists are hopeful that this technology can provide an affordable way to convert abundant but salty waters into clean and safe drinking water. As conventional reverse osmosis technology does not cope with the increasing salt levels of water sources, the concept of low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis can lead the way in water purification. These novel systems perform better than conventional reverse osmosis because they allow more salt to pass through each membrane, requiring less force and energy to push water through.
Cost-Effective and Energy-Efficient
Researchers at the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) research consortium conducted a mathematical model to compare the cost, clean water output, and energy consumption of more than 130,000 potential system designs. The results showed that low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis could reduce the overall cost of producing clean water by up to 63%. Moreover, this technology requires less force and energy to purify water, making it more energy-efficient than conventional reverse osmosis.
- Low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis provides an affordable and energy-efficient way to change salty and briny water sources into clean drinking water.
- Conventional reverse osmosis technology cannot purify waters with higher salt content, making this technology beneficial for locations like the deserts of Arizona or California.
- We need an effective treatment of briny water at a low cost as the freshwater shortage is experienced globally.
- The design of low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis is still in its theoretical stage but is likely to materialize soon and provide a cost-effective solution to water shortages.
Low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis is a promising solution for the water crisis faced globally. It is cost-effective and energy-efficient and has the potential to recycle even the saltiest waters into clean and safe drinking water. This technology could provide hope for places struggling with water scarcity and areas like the US Southwest, experiencing unprecedented drought conditions.
Low-salt-rejection reverse osmosis is a technological concept that holds immense potential to solve global water shortages. This affordable and energy-efficient treatment can turn even the most unpotable waters into clean and safe drinking water. With water scarcity expected to increase globally, this technology could provide hope for the millions of people who do not have access to clean drinking water.