The Earth is said to be a "Water Planet," however 97.5% of the Earth's water is seawater. The potable freshwater resources make up only 2.5%. And the amount of freshwater that we can actually access is even smaller; just 0.01% of the Earth's water.
In recent years the increasing population, economic expansion, and accelerating climate change have only served to make the lack of water resources an ever more pressing environmental issue.
Under such circumstances, being able to extract drinking water from the abundant supply of seawater on the Earth should help those people in regions affected by water shortages. Toray hopes to achieve this through technology that produces freshwater by desalinating seawater.
The reverse osmosis membrane, ROMEMBRA™, by Toray
Desalination plants traditionally use evaporation to remove salt from seawater, turning it into drinking water. However, this method consumes a lot of energy and its application is limited to certain regions, such as in oil-producing countries with high energy self-sufficiency. Toray has developed the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane "ROMEMBRA™" that physically separates the salt from seawater instead of relying on evaporation. It has gained widespread use around the globe.
A reverse osmosis membrane is a "semipermeable membrane" filled with small holes with diameters of 0.6 to 0.8 nanometers (1 nanometer is 1 millionth of 1 mm). Salt is removed as the seawater passes through the membrane, producing freshwater (desalinated water).
The technology behind the "reverse osmosis membrane" can also be applied to the treatment and reuse of wastewater and industrial wastewater that cause environmental issues. We at Toray hope to support the desalination and waste water treatment technologies that are being used to fight against global water shortages and improve the world's water environments with our "reverse osmosis membrane."
One possibility is to use the power of materials to turn seawater into drinking water. Meet reverse osmosis membrane technology by Toray.