Aqua Membranes seeks to make reverse osmosis technology more accessible through an innovation that eliminates the mesh feed spacer in conventional RO membranes, achieving the required spacer gap by directly embossing the membrane itself or by printing plastic posts onto the membrane. This “open channel spacer” can be used in both new and existing installations and allows the following benefits:
- Up to 2X the production capacity in the same size footprint
- Significantly reduced biofouling and associated maintenance requirements
- Significantly lower cost per unit of water treated
- Decreased operating pressure requirements
- Less stringent requirements for pre-filtration
- Increased yield due to the ability to treat more highly contaminated feedwater
Water use worldwide has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase, while existing water sources are being rapidly depleted and water quality is growing worse. More than 97% of the earth’s water supply is saltwater, which is not fit for drinking, agriculture, or many industrial processes. If this water can be economically desalinated, it is clear that sufficient water on the planet exists to meet the needs of humans.
Increased water availability will not only supply basic drinking water and irrigation needs, but will also serve the economic development engine that contributes to improved living standards. Industry generates almost 70 times as much value from a liter of water as agriculture. It follows that wealthier countries are using 60% of their water for industrial purposes versus only 10% in poor countries (“For Want of a Drink: A Special Report on Water,” The Economist, May 22, 2010).