Forward Osmosis at BlueTech Forum

March 1, 2016
Oasys Water installs world's first commercial application of forward osmosis in a zero liquid discharge application

Membrane technology company Oasys Water is joining the BlueTech Forum Innovation Showcase, which is taking place in San Francisco on June 1. Twelve companies will take part in the event, each representing a different aspect of innovation in water technology.

Oasys is a leading provider of integrated forward osmosis (FO) systems for high recovery desalination including brine management and zero liquid discharge (ZLD). The company has achieved the successful transition of its ClearFlo Membrane Brine Concentrator (MBC) technology from R&D into commercial application.

The ClearFlo MBC uses a powerful, patented draw solution which is based on ammonium bicarbonate. This pulls water molecules from the brine reject stream across a semi-permeable FO membrane for recovery from the system as fresh water, after the draw solution is extracted by vaporization. Combining this with a crystallizer to completely recover the fresh water available in a wastewater stream provides the highest recovery rates and reusable product water.

Oasys has found traction for its technology in China, where it has recently installed the world’s first commercial application of FO in a ZLD application at the Changxing Power Plant in Zhejiang Province.

MBC technology can take total dissolved solids from 40-50,000 ppm to 250,000 ppm. As the stream becomes more concentrated, higher quantities of fresh water become available for reuse.

ClearFlo MBC technology is suited to industrial processes with high levels of salinity where high recovery of fresh water is desirable, such as power and oil and gas. Power generation is the largest industrial user of water worldwide, and regulatory pressures are also mounting on large water users to reduce the volume of their waste streams.

To date, Oasys has found greatest traction for its technology in China, which has very strict regulations requiring ZLD. The company has recently installed the world’s first commercial application of FO in a ZLD application at the Changxing Power Plant in Zhejiang Province.

Forward osmosis skids at the Changxing Power Plant.

John Tracy, Oasys Water’s director of marketing, said, “In China we’ve been working in partnership with our domestic partner Beijing Woteer to install the MBC in a coal-fired power station in Zhejiang. This is the first-ever commercial application of FO in ZLD.

“Based on the success of this project, we now have further installations planned in the Chinese thermal power and coal-to-chemical refining industries,” he said.

O2 Environmental Technology Assessment Group (TAG) member Graeme Pearce said, “Interest in forward osmosis has grown sharply both in academia and several specialized companies including Oasys. There has been good progress in addressing the challenges of commercialization, too, and several attractive application niches are now developing which could present an ideal opportunity for diverse product offerings from specialized suppliers.”

BlueTech Research Chief Executive Paul O’Callaghan said, “Oasys Water was an obvious choice for the Technology Showcase because its ClearFlo MBC demonstrates the successful transition of FO from R&D into commercial application. The importance of low energy freshwater recovery in industrial applications is only going to grow in the coming decades so we are delighted to have them on board.”

Editor’s Note: Alongside the Innovation Showcase, BlueTech Forum 2016 is also hosting two Water Technology Roundtable Briefings on topics relevant to FO technology:

▶ Brine Management and Zero Liquid Discharge - Competitive Landscape and Next Generation Technologies, hosted by Michael Mickley, TAG Member, O2 Environmental

▶ Membrane Technologies, hosted by Graeme Pearce, TAG Member, O2 Environmental

For more information, please visit the BlueTech Forum website:

About BlueTech Research: BlueTech® Research provides investors, water companies, researchers and regulators with critical analysis on emerging water technology market areas. Learn more at

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