Pros and Cons of Seawater Desalination Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) Process

by | Jul 9, 2021 | 0 comments

Gone are the days when seawater desalination reverse osmosis or SWRO technology was used for serving the water needs of island nations or coastal communities only. Now, many countries are using this technology to meet the water needs of people based in key cities. The US is among the top producers of pure water using the desalination process, and its adoption is rising with time. 

Countries/states with dry climates and fewer freshwater resources are doing well with SWRO systems. They help such countries/states to expand their water resources and void drought-like conditions by being prepared in advance. Now that you know the basics let’s dig deeper. 

How Seawater Desalination Reverse Osmosis Works?

There are two main goals of an SWRO system. The first is to make seawater or brackish water drinkable by removing the salt content. The other is to remove all impurities to ensure that the water doesn’t have any contaminants. 

Seawater has up to 3.5 percent salt and other unwanted elements like silica, color, and microorganisms. The ocean water is first added to the SWRO device via an intake pipe to remove all of these. Then, water will enter a basin or an equalization tank. After that, the water passes through a pre-treatment process that removes large particles of impurities. In addition, it will help prevent the fouling of the RO membrane. 

After the pre-treatment process is over, the water is sent to the reverse osmosis stage, in which pressure is applied to ensure that osmotic pressure is overcome. Next, the water passes through the membrane to a low salt concentration area. The salts flow through to get into a concentrated solution which is known as brine. 

Then, the water passed to the low salt concentration area is put through a post-treatment process that usually includes disinfection and remineralization. After the post-treatment process is over, pure water is available for consumption. At the same time, the brine concentrate is discharged back into the ocean by following protocols that help reduce any negative impact that it might have on the marine ecosystem. 

Pros and Cons of SWRO Process

Now that you have an idea of how an SWRO system works and its applications, it’s time to know about the pros and cons of seawater desalination reverse osmosis process or the SWRO process. 


  • Space-Savvy

The SWRO systems that are designed these days are very space-savvy and compact. You don’t need a lot of capital to invest in them. They are great for commercial or industrial water needs like hotels and manufacturing facilities. Often, municipalities use them too. They can serve the large water needs with efficiency and effectiveness. 

  • Preservation of Freshwater Sources

When the dependency on the SWRO system increases, the dependency on freshwater sources usually reduces. It is good as freshwater sources are depleting fast, while the ocean is a great alternative to getting water in bulk. Oceans have more than 95 percent of water present on Earth. 

  • Great for Huge Water Needs

An SWRO system is ideal for the huge water needs of several industries like the oil & gas industry. It is a far better option than the thermal water treatment process as the amount of output is higher. In the thermal process, collecting and condensing steam will produce far less pure water than the reverse osmosis process. 

  • No Doubt About Quality

When you use an SWRO system, you won’t have any doubts about the quality of water. The water will be 100% pure, full of minerals, and have the right TDS. It will also have a regulated pH and give you the odorless, tasteless, and colorless water you expect. There won’t be any exceptions in quality as long as the system is working fine. 


  • The Need for Pre-Treatment

Pre-treatment filters are an essential part of the SWRO process. If it’s not there, the membrane would lose its value and might end up producing impure water or producing less water than it is capable of. So, you cannot skip this part of the treatment process. 

  • Costly Investment

Investing in an SWRO system is costly, and you can’t avoid that initial cost. But the cost would be worth it when you get pure water over and over again for all the bulk water needs. Also, as technology improves, the cost usually lowers. It has happened in the past, and it will happen in the future as well. 

  • Need for Energy

Most SWRO systems need a lot of energy to be able to function seamlessly. A simple solution could be to recover the osmotic pressure energy that is stored in the concentrate solution. It will help save overall energy costs. The use of rotary pressure exchanger can also be considered. 

Where to Buy an SWRO System? Trust AMPAC USA

AMPAC USA is a trustworthy water treatment technology brand with experience of more than 30 years. We make advanced SWRO systems for onshore and offshore use. 

The onshore Fresh SWRO Watermakers, designed for land use, can be fed directly from the sea or any beach well and will convert seawater or salty brackish water to pure fresh drinking water.  These LandPro ™ systems are perfect for locations with no fresh or municipal water supplies, such as remote areas or smaller atolls and islands having no potable water sources.  

SeaPro™ marine offshore fresh watermakers convert seawater fed directly from the sea into drinking water quality and suit most boats, yachts, oceangoing industrial vessels, and military ships.

Trust us when you need a reputed water treatment brand to design, manufacture and deploy Emergency Portable Watermakers, Land-Based Watermakers, Marine Seawater Desalination Products, Military Seawater Desalination products, and Offshore watermakers. Call 909-548-4900 today or visit us here.




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