Aquaporin is working to make hemodialysis more sustainable by using its Aquaporin Inside membranes in a forward osmosis water purification system to reduce the high water consumption of hemodialysis machines by 75%.
The Dialysis Department at the University Hospital of Copenhagen in Denmark consumes around 10 million litres (around 2.6 million gallons) of water every year. Hemodialysis machines rely on reverse osmosis to purify the water prior to treatment but in some hospitals, only around 50% of the water is purified, while the rest must be discarded.
While reverse osmosis applies pressure to drive water across a filtration membrane, forward osmosis uses the natural force of osmotic pressure to pull the water across the membrane. This provides a tighter barrier to purify water and use less energy.
Aquaporin Inside membrane modules are used inside forward osmosis systems to facilitate rapid and highly selective water transport across the cell membrane, allowing only water molecules to pass.
The membranes are already used in many commercial applications and the company says that, if integrated into existing dialysis machines, a forward osmosis system using the membranes could significantly reduce the water consumption of dialysis centres.