The Reverse Osmosis Solar Installation (known as ROSI) uses membrane filtration to provide a reliable and clean drinking water stream from sources such as brackish groundwater. Solar energy overcomes the usually high-energy operating costs as well as greenhouse emissions of conventional reverse osmosis. ROSI can also remove trace contaminants such as arsenic and uranium that may cause certain health problems, and minerals such as calcium carbonate which causes water hardness.
Project leader Dr. Andrea Schaefer from the University of Wollongong's Faculty of Engineering said ROSI has the potential to bring clean water to remote communities throughout Australia that do not have access to a town water supply and/or the electricity grid.
Groundwater (which may contain dissolved salts or other contaminants) or surface water (which may have high turbidity or contain microorganisms) is pumped into a tank with an ultrafiltration membrane, which removes viruses and bacteria. This water is fit for cleaning and bathing. Ten percent of that water undergoes nanofiltration and reverse osmosis in the second stage of purification, which removes salts and trace contaminants, producing drinking water. A photovoltaic solar array tracks the sun and powers the pumps needed to process the water, using the plentiful sunlight available in remote regions of Australia not served by the power grid.
- SPX Global manufacturer of solar powered water systems for remote areas
- SEA Panel — manufacturer of personal solar desalination systems
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