Sales to Reach $11 Billion in 2011 for Filtration Membranes, Equipment, According to Report

Consumer and industrial demands for clean water will drive the market for cross-flow membrane systems and replacement membranes to more than $11 billion in 2011, McIlvaine Co. announced on March 6.

According to a McIlvaine online report, RO/UF/MF World Markets, reverse osmosis is the most efficient membrane and represents 45 percent of the total sales. These membranes are required to remove salts and the finest particles. Ultrafiltration and nanofiltration account for 20 percent of the market and provide intermediate efficiency. Microfiltration accounts for 30 percent of the market and is less efficient than the other membranes, but nevertheless does remove sub-micron particles.

Microfiltration sales have been rapidly expanding due to the need for purifying drinking water, the company states. The cost of this technology is not much greater than the multimedia (usually sand) filtration, which has been the workhorse of municipal water filtration for many decades. Microfiltration is more efficient than multimedia filtration and has been proven to capture the microorganisms responsible for some of the outbreaks of illness due to poor water quality.

The future growth of the membranes in the desalination sector will be impacted by technological development, the company states. While distillation approaches are becoming more expensive due to the rising cost of energy, membrane processes are becoming less expensive due to membrane and system developments. The energy to desalinate seawater using membranes has been substantially reduced but more developments are on the way. IBM is looking into developing filters woven from nanotubes that could remove the salt and impurities out of sea water at a lower cost than current desalination technologies.

McIlvaine Co.:

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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