A number of global trends will increase world demand for potable water, with desalination playing an increasingly important role in its secure and reliable provision. These trends include: (1) people either choosing or being forced to live in areas of potable water scarcity, (2) population and standard of living increases, (3) increased industrial water consumption, (4) overdrawn and/or contaminated conventional water sources, (5) increased environmental regulation, and (6) global climate changes that could make precipitation less predictable.
While reverse osmosis (RO) has emerged as the lowest cost desalination process, it nevertheless remains relatively expensive and highly energy intensive. As RO desalination facilities are large, capital-intensive plants, more than 40% of the overall cost of RO desalinated water reflects capital recovery. Of the remaining 60% that reflect true operating costs, 80% comprise energy, membrane and chemical costs. The total annual costs of the world’s RO desalination facilities today exceed $6B. Existing and future RO desalination facility owners need a means to reduce energy consumption, use less membrane area and fewer chemicals, and construct smaller, less expensive facilities.
Globally, desalination provides more than 13 billion gallons per day of clean, potable water, half of this by RO, yet this production meets less than 1% of the world’s need. Desalination capacity is expected to double by 2016. By making desalination and water purification less costly and less energy intensive, NanOasis can increase the use of RO for water applications and help solve the need for clean water for drinking, agricultural and industrial applications.
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