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The Difference Between Reverse Osmosis and High Recovery Reverse Osmosis

30 June 2023

High yield water recovery with AQUALITY® HHRO

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a proven water treatment technology used to remove impurities from water. By using pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane, clean water is separated water from a concentrate of impurities. Reverse Osmosis for water treatment applications is a proven and widespread technology.

As RO membranes are not cheap, carefully monitoring and staying within range is key in order to keep cost under control. Depending on a detailed ion analysis we have to make the exercise between recovering as much water as possible and the chemicals needed to achieve this recover in order to have net the best yearly savings.

In recent years, the RO technology has been finetuned with new configurations making use of the same technology, but leading to higher recovery yields, bringing the AQUALITY® High Recovery RO back into the spotlights.

Standard Reverse Osmosis

Standard reverse osmosis is the most common type of RO technology. It typically operates at a recovery rate of 70-80%, meaning that for every 100 liter of water processed, 20-30 liter are discharged as concentrate. This is because the RO membrane can only handle a certain amount of impurities before it becomes clogged and requires cleaning or replacement. The higher the recovery rate, the more concentrated the impurities become, which can reduce the efficiency of the RO membrane and shorten its lifespan. Most RO's are multi stage system where additional RO stages are added to increase recovery.

AQUALITY® High Recovery Reverse Osmosis

AQUALITY® High Recovery Reverse Osmosis, is a newer technology that operates at a much higher recovery rate, typically around 90%, with peaks up to 98%. This performance is achieved by using a RO membrane technology in an adjusted dynamic set-up. where the concentrate is recycled over the membranes until a certain pressure is reached. This results in a dynamic system where during each cycle the salt concentration and pressure are changing over time, which makes the membranes more resistant against biofouling and scaling. The system automatically adapts to changes in flow or turbidity. The result is a flexible solution, offering less waste water and lower operating costs, as well as a reduced environmental impact.

Benefits of AQUALITY® High Recovery Reverse Osmosis

There are several benefits to using high recovery reverse osmosis technology over standard RO:

  • Efficiency: Higher recovery yield. Up to 90% recovery. High recovery reverse osmosis produces less waste water, reducing the amount of water that needs to be treated and discharged.
  • Lower operating costs: By producing more clean water with less waste, high recovery reverse osmosis can lower operating costs and improve the efficiency of water treatment systems.
  • Flexible: water conditions change over time: HHRO automatically adjusts to a wide range of conditions; eliminating the need for permanent oversite and expertise.
  • Reliable: fouling and scaling resiliency cuts maintenance in half and dramatically reduces downtime
  • Longer membrane lifespan: Because high recovery reverse osmosis produces less concentrated impurities, it can extend the lifespan of the RO membrane, reducing maintenance and replacement costs.
  • Return on Investment: with less wastewater, higher yield, less energy consumption and reduced maintenance, installation payback is possible in a very short time.

Higher yield, longer lifespan, lower cost.

While standard reverse osmosis is a proven technology for water treatment, AQUALITY® High Recovery Reverse Osmosis offers significant advantages. By producing less waste water, lowering operating costs, and minimizing the environmental impact of water treatment, AQUALITY® High Recovery Reverse Osmosis is a serious option for building a business case when looking to improve water efficiency and accelerating the way to circular water use.

Waterleau is a pioneer in the implementation of the HRRO technology having started up 10 HRRO references in the last 5 years. Waterleau also built their own HRRO container that can flexible threat fresh up to brakish water from 8-20 m³/h. This pilot can be rented by customers to test the advantages of the HRRO before implementing a full scale project.

Get Your Personalized Water Recovery Plan!

Are you tired of seeing your hard-earned money flow down the drain? We have water solutions that will not only save you money but also make a positive impact on the environment. By implementing water recovery, you can reclaim water that is ready for reuse and stop relying solely on your intake water source.

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