Our latest initiative is the development of counter flow reverse osmosis (CFRO). CFRO is ideal for clean brine applications where thermal sources are not available. The system can concentrates salt water to the saturation limit at pressures low enough to allow use of commercial RO membranes and equipment. The CFRO process has profound implications for industrial and municipal water treatment in the United States and around the world, with significant cost reduction and environmental benefits. The CFRO process is enabling inland desalination and water reuse projects that were not previously possible due to lack of viable brine management solutions.
In the CFRO process, a dilute saline solution is introduced to the product side of the membrane. This reduces the osmotic pressure differential across the membrane and thereby reduces the required feed pressure. Brine is cascaded through multiple CFRO stages without exceeding the maximum pressure limitations of standard RO equipment, producing a saturated brine stream and purified product water stream. A schematic diagram of the pump pressure requirements for a CFRO process is given below.
A cascade of CFRO units arranged to enable step-wise concentration of the brine is illustrated in the following figure.