Revolutionizing Water Treatment: The Advancements of Reverse Osmosis Technology in China

Since the mid-1960s, China has been developing reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology, initially facing challenges in materials and industrial conditions. Recent years have witnessed substantial improvements, with several imported production lines significantly enhancing the domestic membrane production capabilities. This article explores the evolution and applications of RO water treatment technology in China, highlighting its impact on modern industries.

RO Technology Advancements in China:

In contemporary production facilities, large-scale RO systems have become commonplace in China, contributing to a wealth of design, construction, and operational experiences. These systems play a vital role in addressing water scarcity and providing purified water for various purposes.

Applications of RO Technology:

China has strategically employed RO to desalinate seawater and brackish water, catering to the freshwater needs of coastal regions. Large-capacity desalination plants, producing over 240 tons per hour, now supply water to power plants, petrochemical facilities, and drinking water utilities.

Drinking Water Treatment:

RO technology has witnessed significant growth in drinking water treatment applications. While foreign countries employ super-sized RO systems for urban water supplies, China has primarily utilized medium to small-scale RO units. The increasing adoption of RO in urban communities, hotels, and restaurants foretells a promising future for centralized RO water supply systems.

RO Membrane Purity and Pre-Treatment:

RO membranes, with their minuscule pore sizes, effectively remove ions and small organic compounds from filtered water. The key to ensuring optimal performance lies in pre-treatment processes. Common methods include coagulation, sedimentation, multimedia filtration, activated carbon filtration, and ion exchange softening. Specialized pre-treatment may be necessary to reduce metal ion content, eliminate microorganisms, and remove silica.

Specific Pre-Treatment Techniques:

  • Coagulation: Targets tiny suspended particles and colloids, crucial for water clarity.
  • Multimedia Filter: Essential for removing fine particles, suspended matter, and colloids.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: Eliminates free chlorine and organic substances to protect RO facilities.
  • Softening and Anti-Scaling Agents: Prevents scaling on the RO membrane surface, preserving its lifespan.
  • Temperature Adjustment and pH Regulation: Ensures optimal conditions for RO membrane operation.
  • Security Filtration: Retains particles larger than 5 micrometers to prevent damage to RO membranes.

Advanced RO Membranes and Their Challenges:

Newer RO membranes, such as nanofiltration membranes, are emerging, offering unique characteristics. However, these membranes often exhibit lower desalination rates, and national standards for their water quality are yet to be established.


As China embraces RO water treatment technology across various industries, especially in brewing processes, the potential for growth and development is significant. The meticulous pre-treatment processes, combined with advanced RO membranes, promise a future where water quality standards are consistently met, opening new opportunities for premium products and sustainable industrial practices.

Xi’an CHIWATEC Water Treatment Technology is a high-tech enterprise specialized in various water processing devices. Aside from these individual products, which cover a number of types and series, we can also help with related comprehensive engineering projects. Thanks to our hard work and dedication upon our founding, we are now one of the fastest-developing water treatment equipment manufacturers in Western China.

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