In a water desalination treatment system, reverse osmosis is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solvent, such as water, through a membrane that retains the solute, such as salt ions, on one side and allows pure water to pass to the other side. However, reverse osmosis treatment units use a lot of water and energy and therefore can be costly to operate. As an example, some reverse osmosis treatment plants recover only 5 to 15 percent of pure water entering the system. The remainder is discharged as wastewater. One nanotechnology group may have a way to reduce costs of conventional desalination treatments by using carbon nanotubes.
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