If you’ve ever wondered how seawater can be transformed into safe, drinkable freshwater, the answer lies in desalination. Desalination is a process used to remove salt and other impurities from seawater so that it can be consumed as drinking water. This process has been around for centuries, but technological advancements have made it more efficient and cost-effective. Let’s take a look at how desalination works and how it can benefit communities with limited access to clean drinking water.
The Process of Desalination
Currently, the most common type of desalination is called Reverse Osmosis (RO), which involves forcing salty or brackish (partially salty) water through a semi-permeable membrane that removes up to 99% of dissolved salts from the water. This process is often used in areas where freshwater sources are scarce or polluted. The resulting product is highly purified drinking water that can be used for both human consumption and agricultural purposes.
Desalination also plays an essential role in providing clean drinking water to coastal areas where traditional means of accessing fresh water may be limited or nonexistent due to drought or other environmental factors. By removing salt from seawater, communities can use this source of potable water as an alternative to other methods, such as drilling wells or harvesting rainwater, which may not always be feasible due to geography or climate conditions.
Benefits of Desalination
The benefits of desalination are numerous and far-reaching. For starters, it helps provide clean drinking water to people living in arid climates who might otherwise have little access to potable sources of fresh H2O. It also allows us to reduce our reliance on groundwater reserves, which are often overused and easily depleted due to their finite nature—especially during droughts or other dry spells when demand is high, but supply is low. Additionally, desalinated sea waters aren’t subject to the same pollutants found in freshwater sources such as rivers and lakes. This is due to the well-established capabilities of Reverse Osmosis (RO) membranes, which are commonly used to manufacture bottled water.
GRAPHENE ENHANCED REVERSE OSMOSIS (GERO)
While an effective, stable, and beneficial integration of graphene-based materials directly into a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane remains a commercial challenge yet to be achieved, the common short-comings and operational cost of an RO-based water treatment process can be lessened by the strategic, upstream use of Purafy’s commercially available graphene technologies. This is achieved by the use of graphene oxide (GO)-based, advanced ultrafiltration (AUF) as a pre-treatment membrane technology [ref 1].
GO membranes for AUF processes are commercial technologies available through Purafy Inc. and De.mem Pte [ref 2]. The new GO membrane technology has been validated in industrial trial projects in Singapore, and is proven to deliver 20 – 40% higher water flux (=throughput, or volume of clean water produced) vs. standard polymer ultrafiltration membranes in combination with a superior rejection of contaminants. Therefore, it is feasible to produce more filtered, product water while spending the same amount of energy and footprint on water pressure and pump infrastructure.
These GO-based filters offer a cost-effective and easy-to-maintain solution while posing a much lower environmental impact than other filtration methods, making them suitable for decentralized water treatment projects within rural villages and remote communities, especially when combined within the turn-key engineered product designs of Purafy (https://shop.purafy.com). These technological developments with graphene-oxide membranes represent a significant advance in pursuing fresh drinking water for those who cannot obtain it by conventional means.
How Purafy is working on desalination
Purafy is an ambitious clean technology company that offers advanced, market-leading solutions to tackle the world’s water challenges. Our proprietary and patented graphene technologies are designed to revolutionize water filtration strategies by simultaneously increasing the power (throughput), capacity (lifetime), and cost efficiency of commercial solutions. With graphene-oxide membrane technology, we plan to provide access to clean drinking water for those around the world who lack access to such resources, no matter what the water challenge is.
Desalinating seawater has become an increasingly popular way for communities with limited access to clean drinking water sources to provide their citizens with potable H2O without tapping into precious groundwater reserves or relying on rainwater harvesting—which may not always be feasible due to geography or climate conditions. Not only does this process help provide communities with needed resources during times when traditional methods aren’t possible, but it also reduces our reliance on finite groundwater reserves by utilizing an abundant source that can never run out—the ocean! With technological advances continuing at an ever-increasing pace, we understand that desalinated seawater will play a vital role in helping people worldwide gain access to clean drinking water.
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