What is Forward Osmosis?

Animation by Filip Janakievsky,  courtesy of CSIRO, Australia.

Forward osmosis (FO)  gently removes water with minimal impact on the feed solution.  FO is also referred to as direct osmosis or engineered osmosis.  It's a natural process driven by chemical energy.  Water flows across a semi-permeable membrane from a liquid with lower osmotic pressure (feed) into a working fluid with higher osmotic pressure (draw solution).  An FO module is effectively an osmotic pressure exchanger.  FO concentrates the feed and dilutes the draw.   In some FO systems,  the draw is re-concentrated and reused.  The diluted draw remains clean and is easy to concentrate via other membrane or thermal processes.     

Our best in class PFO membrane is being used by customers on every continent and is being used by prominent research groups such as Prof. Elimelech's at Yale, Prof. Cath's at Colorado School of Mines, Prof. McCutcheon's at University of Connecticut, and Dr. Wilson's at Idaho National Laboratory, to name a few.

PFO technology was showcased at the White House in 2016.  In the picture above Dr. Wilson from INL is briefing the Energy Secretary Moniz about the benefits of PFO technology.

PFO technology was showcased at the White House in 2016.  In the picture above Dr. Wilson from INL is briefing the Energy Secretary Moniz about the benefits of PFO technology.

Our PFO modules are specifically designed for FO and allow customers to achieve high cross flow velocities with extremely low headloss.  PFO modules can operate in counter-flow configuration and can be configured to achieve >90% recovery in one pass. 


There are many applications of FO across industries.  We are in the process of building a library of application case studies.  Check back here for new application notes.