NanoH2O to Build Navy On-Ship Desalination System
Reverse osmosis has become a fairly well known water purification system among homeowners and industry alike. Its big drawback is the inherent energy inefficiency of the reverse osmosis process. California-based NanoH2O, however, is claiming that their new reverse osmosis seawater desalination machines will improve process efficiency by 50 percent to 100 percent. The claims are impressive enough that the U.S. Navy is funding an on-ship two-year test of the NanoH2O system.
The construction of the reverse osmosis membrane is the key to its efficiency. Most membranes use a polymer material to filter out unwanted materials – like salt – from water. NanoH2O’s product incorporates an inorganic metal-based material along with the polymer. The material is hydrophilic and porous, allowing greater volumes of water to pass through the membrane at once resulting in a greater yield of ‘clean’ water per gallon of input. The relatively low yield of clean water to input of unprocessed water is what has made traditional reverse osmosis systems fairly expensive to operate.
With its vast fleet, a more energy efficient Navy can have a discernibly positive impact on energy use. The Navy must agree, as they awarded NanoH2O a $400,000 grant to test their reverse osmosis desalination system on select boats.
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