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Is there a way to remove salt from water, even just partially, using chemical or filtration methods prior to a reverse osmosis?

The problems is that salt is very hard on a reverse osmosis membrane which is expensive. Is there some way to attract some of the salt out of the water before using the membrane?

One possibility I have heard of is decanoic acid which can be used to sequester salt.

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  • $\begingroup$ You could distill the water, but that pretty much ruins the point of trying to use reverse osmosis! $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer May 19 '16 at 13:17
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The method you mentioned is known as directional solvent extraction and seems quite straight forward and efficient. It is a relatively new method of desalination. Soybean oil, hexanoic acid, decanoic acid, and octanoic acid can be used (the last two are most effective) [ source: https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/78539 ]. This video shows the setup used.

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