NEWS RELEASE                                   NOVEMBER 2011

Cross-flow Membrane Market to Reach $12 Billion by 2017

The sales of cross-flow membrane equipment and consumable membrane modules will increase from $8.6 billion this year to over $12 billion in 2017 according to the latest forecasts in the RO, UF, MF World Market report.

The biggest category will be reverse osmosis (RO) equipment which will enjoy a $1.7 billion increase to $4.7 billion in 2017.

($ Millions)




 Micro Equipment



 Micro Membranes



 RO Equip



 RO Membranes



 UF Equipment



 UF Membranes






Membrane sales for RO equipment will be just under $1.5 billion at that time. Dow Chemical is now the market leader in this consumables category with a significant worldwide market share.

Reverse osmosis systems are used for desalination, power plant boiler feed water, pharmaceutical water for injection and many similar applications where the ultimate in water purity is required.  Ultrafiltration and nanofiltration are lumped together in the UF category. The efficiency of these membranes is less than RO but more than the microfiltration membranes. Ultrafiltration is often a pre-filtration process for RO.  Ultrafiltration is the final filtration for some food and dairy products.

Microfiltration has many applications where it competes with gravity sand filters and provides greater efficiency in removing microbes. It has, therefore, become popular to filter municipal drinking water.  The combination of microfiltration with biological waste treatment (membrane bioreactor) has become widely used where the distance to a municipal sewage plant makes connections expensive. Membrane bioreactors are treating food processing wastewater as well as wastewater from a number of other industrial processes.

Desalination has been a big growth sector for the cross-flow membrane industry. Available water per capita is shrinking while wealth is increasing. Both are powerful drivers. There are also industrial demands which have led to substantial growth of desalination in the Middle East. An alternative to membrane separation is evaporation and distillation. However, as the cost of membrane separation continues to be reduced, the technology is gaining more market share.

Combinations of power generation and desalination are very attractive. The waste heat from a coal-fired power plant can be used for the evaporation/distillation. China is pursuing this combination vigorously.

For more information on RO, UF, MF World Market, click on: