If you are an industry owner, manager, or entrepreneur with less or no-knowledge about how reverse osmosis works, then this blog is for you.

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In this blog, we attempt to explain the complete process of reverse osmosis and also provide insights on:

  • What is a reverse osmosis (RO) plant?
  • What contaminants will reverse osmosis remove from water?
  • Benefits of Industrial RO Plants

The objective of writing this blog is to offer insights into the provision of top-notch water, which, in turn, aids in enhancing product quality, safeguarding equipment from damage, and optimizing operational efficiency.

Therefore, the treatment of water in the oil industry and other industrial sectors is critical for both environmental preservation and the well-being of human existence.

So, ready to treat your contaminated water? Let’s get started.

What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities, contaminants, and dissolved solids from water.

In RO, water is forced through the membrane under pressure, allowing only water molecules to pass through while blocking the majority of dissolved salts, minerals, and other pollutants. This results in the production of purified and high-quality water, often referred to as "permeate," while the concentrated impurities are removed as "reject" or "brine."

Further, RO is widely used for various applications, including water purification, desalination, and industrial processes, to achieve the desired water quality and purity.

Hence, due to the wide use of RO in various industrial and commercial processes, the market size of global reverse osmosis (RO), according to the report, is projected to grow to USD 8 billion by 2030.

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There are many types of RO available to purify and treat contaminated, brackish, and seawater. Here is a list of different categories of reverse osmosis.

  • Conventional Reverse Osmosis (CRO)
  • Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO)
  • Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO)
  • Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR)
  • Nanofiltration (NF)
  • Forward Osmosis (FO)
  • Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD)
  • Capacitive Deionization (CDI)

So, knowing the definition of reverse osmosis, let us embark on the next section that provides insights into how the reverse osmosis water system works.

How does the RO Plant Work?

To obtain high-quality and purified water for streamlined industrial operations, reverse osmosis plants are used by various industries.

However, reverse osmosis treatment is divided into various stages that include the pre-treatment, RO process, post-treatment process, and post-chronicle dosing system. Let us discuss these stages in detail.

Pre-treatment Processes


The reverse osmosis process starts with a filtration process that gets rid of sediment and Cl that might clog or harm the artificial language membrane. The filtration process removes large particles and debris to protect the RO membrane from potential damage or fouling caused by impurities.

Chemical Dosing

The second step of pre-treatment is chemical dosing, which includes adding chemicals to adjust the pH level, prevent scaling, determine its composition, or inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

Proper chemical dosing is important in water treatment as it helps in:

  • Increasing efficiency
  • Elevates the longevity of RO membrane
  • Enhance productivity of RO membrane

In cases where water hardness is a concern, a water softening process is included to remove calcium and magnesium ions. The softening process helps prevent scaling on the membrane surface, which can impede the RO process.

RO Process

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Membrane Filtration

The heart of the RO plant is the semi-permeable membrane. Water is pressurized and forced through this membrane, which contains tiny pores that allow only water molecules to pass through. Meanwhile, dissolved salts, minerals, and other contaminants are rejected and flushed away as brine.

Pressure Application

Achieving this separation requires the application of pressure to overcome the natural osmotic pressure. The incoming water is pressurized to push it through the membrane. Such pressure varies depending on the salinity of the feedwater and the desired purity of the permeate.

Post-treatment Processes


After passing through the RO membrane, the water is often disinfected to eliminate any remaining microorganisms and ensure the final product water is microbiologically safe.

pH Adjustment

Depending on the specific application, the pH level of the purified water may be adjusted to meet the required standards or to make it suitable for downstream processes.

Post-Chlorination Dosing System

Product Water Pump (Re-pressurization)

Once the water is treated and purified, it may be re-pressurized using a product water pump to ensure it can meet the needs of the industrial process or distribution system.

Product Water UV Sterilizer

In some applications, UV sterilization is used to provide an additional layer of disinfection to the product water, further enhancing its safety and quality.

So, after knowing the reverse osmosis process, let us dive into the next section that provides information about what contaminants are removed by the industrial reverse system.

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What impurities are removed by the RO plant?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is an effective water purification method that can remove a wide range of contaminants from water. Some of the contaminants that RO is known to effectively remove include:

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Dissolved Solids

RO eliminates dissolved salts and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, which contribute to water hardness.

Heavy Metals

Contaminants like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic are removed by RO membranes due to their larger molecular size.

Dissolved Organics

Organic compounds, including some pesticides, herbicides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are filtered out by RO.


RO can effectively remove bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, making the water microbiologically safe.

Chlorine and chloramines

RO is efficient at removing chlorine and chloramine disinfectants commonly found in tap water.

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)

RO is highly effective at reducing TDS levels, which is a measure of the overall concentration of dissolved substances in water.

Nitrates and sulfates

RO reduces the presence of nitrates and sulfates in water, which are sometimes found in groundwater.

Turbidity and Sediments

RO pre-filtration removes sediments and particles, improving water clarity, reducing fouling in piping, enhancing precision machining, and making water accurate for research and development.

Dissolved Gasses

Certain dissolved gasses, such as carbon dioxide, are reduced by RO, which helps industries with improved water quality, prevent corrosion on equipment, and enhance efficiency.


RO is capable of removing fluoride from water sources. Through the withdrawal of fluoride, it ensures environmental protection, removes harmful substances that elevate work safety, and prioritizes environmental responsibilities.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of an RO system in removing specific contaminants can vary depending on the quality of the membrane, the system design, and the feedwater source.

The efficiency of RO membranes may also depend on factors like pressure, temperature, and the size of the contaminants.

Therefore, while RO is a versatile and reliable water purification method, it's essential to choose the right system and pretreatment processes to target the specific contaminants present in the source water.

Now, in the next section, we discuss the benefits of industrial RO systems that help you understand the dynamics of reverse osmosis water treatment.

Industrial Advantages of RO Plants

The core benefit of RO plants lies in their ability to produce high purity water. By eliminating up to 99% of dissolved salts and impurities, RO systems ensure the availability of clean water, which is a prerequisite in many industrial operations, from manufacturing to food processing.

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Water Treatment Industry

RO plants are highly effective at removing a wide range of contaminants, including dissolved salts, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. This makes them ideal for producing high-quality potable water in the Water Treatment Industry.

RO treatment results in water that is not only safe for consumption but also has improved taste, odor, and clarity. This is particularly important for municipalities and industries, including the water and wastewater treatment industry, where water quality is a top priority.

Food and Beverage Industry

In the food and beverage sector, water quality directly impacts product safety and taste. RO plants play a crucial role in removing contaminants that can alter the flavor or appearance of products.

Moreover, they ensure compliance with stringent health standards, safeguarding consumer health. This is particularly vital in industries like brewing, where water purity is paramount to the quality of the final product.

Edible Oil Industry

RO plants remove impurities and microorganisms from water, ensuring that the water used in edible oil production is pure. This leads to a higher quality of the final oil product.

RO plants can treat wastewater generated during the edible oil extraction process, making it reusable and reducing environmental impact. By ensuring the purity of water used in the production process, RO plants can help reduce processing costs and enhance the overall efficiency of the edible oil industry.

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Chemical and Petrochemical Industries

For the chemical and petrochemical industries, RO technology is essential in providing high-quality water for sensitive chemical processes. It ensures consistency and quality in product output, which is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency and product standards in these industries.

Agriculture and Horticulture

In agriculture and horticulture, RO-treated water is used for irrigation, safeguarding crops from harmful contaminants. This not only improves crop quality and yield but also supports sustainable farming practices by reducing the reliance on chemically treated water.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry demands the highest standards of water purity. RO plants meet these requirements by providing water that's free from impurities and microorganisms, which is crucial for the manufacturing of medications and medical products. This adherence to quality not only ensures the effectiveness of pharmaceutical products but also maintains the industry's stringent hygiene standards.

Wrapping Up

Reverse osmosis is one of the most valuable tools in the industrial sector that helps businesses with unique benefits. In this blog, we discuss such benefits along with the process of RO plant and what type of contamination RO removes from the water.

Further, the installation of RO plants requires guidance and expertise. You should search for industrial RO plant suppliers or manufacturers who assist you with complete planning, optimizing, and installing processes to make your industrial operations streamlined and hassle free.

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N & T Engitech

This blog was created by NandT Engitech using automation technology and was carefully reviewed and verified by our editorial team and an industry expert.

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